November 2002 News

Some state police officials tried to sabotage J&K polls

7 November 2002
The Pioneer

New Delhi: Chief Election Commissioner J M Lyngdoh on Thursday revealed that there was an attempt to sabotage free and fair elections in Jammu and Kashmir by ''a few people basically in the police'' which would have helped former chief minister Farooq Abdullah. He also disclosed that there were plans to release surrendered militants who would have infiltrated the electorate to influence the results and deploy army in road clearance and checking operations to ''divert'' their attention. The cec, however, said he was not sure whether the chief minister was aware of the plans to sabotage the polls. He was participating in the court martial programme on Sab TV anchored by Karan Thapar. Asked about how the commission made the elections in the state successful, Mr Lyngdoh said that all the time the commission had to ''outwit people'' which was a challenging task. ''At one stage, there was a plan to release all ex-militants who had surrendered so that they could infiltrate the electorate. But we nipped it in the bud. Our chaps identified all the militants, got all their details and firmly immure them,'' he said. Asked what would have been the effect if the plan was not detected, Mr Lyngdoh said that there would not have been normal results. To a specific question whether he meant there was an attempt to sabotage free and fair elections, he said ''there was.'' Asked whether the entire state government was involved in it, he said ''not everybody in the state government. There were a few people basically in the police''. Asked whether Dr Abdullah knew about it, Mr Lyngdoh said: ''they were doing things which could have helped him.'' But when specifically asked whether Dr abdullah was in the know of it, he said: ''I would not know.'' Questioned whether he would exonerate Dr Abdullah, the cec said ''well if you know you would not exonerate him. Would you?'' ''At one stage there was also an attempt to make us believe that the road opening party should be from the army which would have been a diversion to engage the army in one direction and leave the field open for people to do mischief. It was also nipped in the bud. These were crucial moments,'' he said. Asked if he was suggesting that entire administration was involved in it, Mr Lyngdoh said: ''I would not say the state administration. Some people. There were a few people who mattered.'' Asked by senior journalist Dileep Padgaonkar whether there was help from separatist groups to many candidates in the polls, he said he would not like to get into it. ''It was a very complex situation. There were lots of people from inside who did it.'' He had a word of praise for the chief secretary I S Malhi who was ''absolutely superb. If he was not there, it would not have been possible to conduct a successful election.'' To a question, he said that the governor was not informed about the goings on.


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