About 6250 Polling Stations Declared As Sensitive

4 November 2014
The Daily Excelsior
Sanjeev Pargal

Jammu: The Union Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has sanctioned 20 additional companies of Into-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) exclusively for Ladakh for Assembly elections in four seats of mountain locked region, bordering both hostile neighbours-Pakistan and China though the Centre didn't anticipate any disruption of elections in the region. Ladakh regions goes to polls in first phase of elections on November 25 along with 11 other constituencies including six in Jammu region and five in Kashmir. Official sources told the Excelsior that keeping in view the hilly terrain of entire Ladakh region and the fact that ITBP was already manning the Line of Actual Control (LAC) along Sino-Indian border in Leh, the MHA has deputed 20 additional companies for deployment in four Assembly segments of the region exclusively. Ladakh comprised four Assembly seats of Leh and Nobra in Leh district, Kargil and Zanskar in Kargil district. 'Twenty additional companies of ITBP would start reaching here in the next couple of days and would be flown to Leh and Kargil district headquarters from where they would be further flown to polling stations along with polling staff and Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs),' sources said. They added that all 20 companies of ITBP would return to New Delhi after completion of elections in Ladakh region and will not be used in other parts of Jammu and Kashmir for next four phases of polling in the State. 'This has further reduced number of additional para-military companies being given by the MHA for polling in Jammu and Kashmir to 500. The MHA had approved 520 additional companies of para-military forces for the State as against the demand of 700 from J&K for five phase polling and 600 for 7 phase polling. As 20 ITBP companies would return after Ladakh elections in first phase, the actual number of companies would be reduced to 500,' sources said. Keeping this in view, the police authorities have decided to involve all 28 battalions of Armed and Indian Reserve Police (IRP) in the elections duty. The 28 battalions will have about 23,000 police personnel. Authorities have sounded Armed and IRP Commandants for their deployment in election duty and their postings will start soon with commencement of first phase of election on November 25. In addition to Armed and IRP involvement, the district police was also being mobilized for elections in all 22 districts of the State. Sources said though the Army will not be involved directly in election duty, they will help indirectly by performing the task of area domination patrolling in critical and sensitive areas especially which still have presence of the militants. To ensure free, fair and smooth polling in Assembly elections, the administration has declared about 6250 polling stations in the State as hypersensitive and sensitive and decided to deploy adequate number of para-military forces there along with local police to avoid occurrence of any untoward incident before or on the day of voting. Sources said that out of 10005 polling stations in Jammu and Kashmir set up for about 72.25 lakh electorates, the administration has declared 6250 of them as hypersensitive and sensitive while rest of them have been categorized as normal. 'The sensitivity of polling stations have been taken keeping in view militancy in the area and apprehensions of booth capturing or bogus voting especially in the high profile constituencies in all three regions of the State,' they said. All polling stations in border areas of the State including International Border (IB) and Line of Control (LoC) have either been declared as hypersensitive or sensitive, they said, adding that deployment of para-military forces and police in the polling stations would depend upon categorization of the polling stations. Authorities said apart from providing protection to all polling stations including those categorized as normal, para-military and police would also be deployed in sensitive areas to ward off any possible attack by the militants. On their part, Army and BSF were already maintaining high alert on LoC and IB respectively to ensure that there was no infiltration of fresh militants to create trouble during the elections.