September 2018 News

Jammu And Kashmir: Heavy Security Cover For Local Bodies Polls

2 September 2018
The Week
Tariq Bhat

Srinagar: More than 40,000 security personnel will be deployed for the upcoming panchayat and municipal polls in Jammu and Kashmir. In the volatile south Kashmir, comprising Anantnag, Kulgam, Pulwama, and Shopian, 55 companies of security forces will be deployed for polling duty. In the north, 56 companies will be mobilised for election duty. In rural Srinagar district, which falls in Central Kashmir, 28 companies will be deployed for the panchayat polls in areas close to the districts of Ganderbal, Budgam, and Pulwama. A total of 203 companies of paramilitary forces, mostly CRPF, who were deployed for Amarnath yatra, will be responsible for the security of eight-phase grassroots elections. According to sources, an additional 10,000 to 15,000 personnel of police will also be deployed for the security of polls. The 40,000 security forces will be rotated across Kashmir for the eight-phase elections for the security of polling booths and deal with any emergencies in view of the poor security situation in Kashmir. Eighty per cent of the polling booths in south Kashmir have been declared hypersensitive and 20 per cent as sensitive. In each district, three companies of paramilitary forces will be kept as a backup. The army will also remain on standby for any emergency to assist the police and paramilitary forces. Massive security arrangement is being put in place in view of the militant threats to subvert the polls. Hizbul Mujahideen operational commander Riyaz Naiko in an audio message recently, warned that those planning to contest the panchayat polls should keep their shrouds ready. He said the militants have also stocked acid to punish those who will contest panchayat polls. After the last panchayat polls in 2011, 16 sarpanchs and panchs were killed in suspected militant attacks. Jammu and Kashmir elects 4,400 sarpanchs and 29,000 panchs will be elected.