Pak Militants Acquire Voter Cards In Kashmir

27 April 2008

Handwara: There may be a comprehensive revision of electoral photo identity cards in Kashmir after the revelations that Pakistani militants have managed to acquire voter identity cards in the valley. The racket was exposed after police seized several voter I-cards from militants during recent encounter in north Kashmir. The voter I-card shows Lashkar militant Abu Tufail, a Pakistani national under a different name and as a resident of north Kashmir. Tufail was killed in a police encounter in February. He carried a reward of Rs 1.5 lakh on his head. 'In subsequent two to three other operations, we found foreign militant getting killed in operations, they were carrying the genuine election cards issued from the local district. It is definitely a serious concern for the security agencies. We have already passed directions to our units and even to the sister agencies that they have to be extra careful now,' said Hasib Mugal, Superintendent of Police, Handwara. In the last four months, police have seized half a dozen voter I-cards from militants, most of them Pakistan nationals. One of the cards belongs to Mudasir Ganie, a district commander of the Hizbul Mujahideen. Days before his arrest, Ganie had visited Delhi and Uttar Pradesh and used his Voter I-Card for identification purposes. Police have arrested an official from the election cell in Handwara. Authorities are not taking any chances. 'May be there are many more cases also. Only time will tell how many more such voter I-cards are like this. But one thing is certain. We will re-verify all the identity cards before the next elections,' said Isfandyar Khan, District Magistrate, Kupwara. The election commission has issued over four million I-Cards in Jammu and Kashmir since 2002. After the startling revelations about the manipulation of Electoral photo Identity cards by militants in Kashmir, sources say election commission has decided to stop issuing fresh cards till a fool-proof system is put in place.