April 2006 News

Security for J&K candidates ordered

14 April 2006
The Hindu
J. Venkatesan

New Delhi: The Election Commission has ordered that all candidates for by- elections to four Assembly constituencies in Jammu and Kashmir on April 24 be provided appropriate and adequate security and safe accommodation. The Commission also directed the State Government that effective and intensive security arrangements be made, including for the polling staff, in these constituencies having 376 polling booths, a large number of them located in militancy affected areas and therefore highly sensitive. The Commission also stressed the need for intensive area domination by the security forces in the four constituencies, especially in the light of the call for poll boycott given by different groups, so that people have the confidence to exercise their franchise in a free and fair manner. The full Election Commission in a meeting here with the Financial Commissioner-cum-Secretary (Home), DGP and Chief Electoral Officer, Jammu & Kashmir, reviewed the preparedness and arrangements for the by-elections in Rafiabad, Sangrama and Pattan in Baramulla district and one constituency, Bhaderwah, in Doda district. The Commission directed that all concerned be sensitised to the provisions of the model code of conduct and that it be strictly enforced along with the J & K Preservation and Defacement of Property Act, 1985, and that videography of important-critical events be done. The Commission reiterated that the polling personnel should be constituted after the due process of randomisation, instructions for which already exist. The Commission further directed that effective and intensive security arrangements be made in the four constituencies as a large number of polling booths are located in militancy-affected areas and, therefore, highly sensitive. A detailed communication plan and movement plan for men and material should be carefully worked, especially as there were a few polling stations in Bhaderwah constituency, which needed to be maintained through helicopters, it said.


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