1500 More Booths Declared Sensitive In Kashmir

6 April 2014
Rising Kashmir
Syed Rizwan Geelani

Srinagar: The restive Kashmir will have 4306 out of total 4773 polling booths under highly security surveillance after authorities identified 1500 more polling booths as sensitive for the upcoming parliamentary elections. Authorities in North Kashmir have declared as many as 1516 out of 1612 polling booths as sensitive and hyper-sensitive. Earlier, the authorities had identified 1021 and 420 polling stations as hypersensitive and sensitive respectively in Srinagar-Budgam constituency which will go to polls on April 30. Srinagar-Budgam parliamentary constituency comprises three districts Srinagar, Budgam and Ganderbal. The constituency has 1546 polling stations 804 in Srinagar, 540 in Budgam and 202 in Ganderbal district. Moreover, North Kashmir's parliamentary constituency comprises of three districts- Baramulla, Kupwara and Bandipora. The constituency has 1612 total polling stations with 822 in Baramulla, 263 in Bandipora and 527 in Kupwara. However, 465 polling booths have been declared as sensitive in Baramulla while 134 in Bandipora and 425 booths in Kupwara district have been declared as hypersensitive. More than 83 percent of 1,600 polling stations in Anantnag Lok Sabha constituency have been designated as hypersensitive or sensitive by the election authorities as they are apprehensive of violence during polling in these areas. Of the 1,615 polling stations in the Anantnag Lok Sabha constituency, 690 polling stations have been designated as hypersensitive as there is apprehension of violence in these polling station areas ahead of or during the polling while 659 polling stations have been designated as sensitive. Official sources said all the polling stations that had over 75 percent voting during the last elections have been declared as critical. He said the categorization was done on the direction of the Election Commission of India (ECI). 'We will depute micro observers to these polling booths in order to conduct smooth and fair elections,' the official said. He said the overall security measures and election programme has been decided in consultation with the security agencies in order to thwart any untoward incident. 'All adequate security measures are in place.' Meanwhile, official sources in police department said categorization of polling stations has been done on the basis of possibility of militant attacks, apprehension of clashes between rival groups and other law and order problems. 'Unlike rest of the states, militancy is considered as a potential threat in Kashmir valley. Rest of the threats are dealt with accordingly,' one of the top police officials in police department said. He, however, said the deployment of paramilitary troops and other forces on polling booths is decided as per the directions of the ECI while rest of the security arrangements in peripheries is decided by local police. 'We arrange the deployment of forces in peripheries keeping in view the sensitivity of the area,' the official said.