October 2018 News

Major Crackdown In South Kashmir Ahead Of Polls

4 October 2018
The Daily Excelsior
Fayaz Bukhari

Srinagar: In a major crackdown against suspected persons including stone pelters ahead of Municipal and Panchayat elections, police have detained over two dozen persons in Pulwama area of South Kashmir during last couple of days. Police and its Special Operations Group (SOG) raided several villages of Pulwama district over past couple of days and detained two dozen persons. The villagers which were raided by Police and SOG include Kalampora, Qasba Yar, Drubgam, Bellow, Murran, Rohmoo and Nowpora. Some of those detained have been identified as Arshad Sofi, Muzamil Ahmad, Raju, Manzoor Ahmad, Yawar, Aqib Ahmad, Majid and Azeez Pir. Municipal elections are set to begin from October 8 in Kashmir with separatist outfits calling for a shutdown on the day to protest against the polls. In the meantime, unidentified persons today set ablaze paddy crop belonging to a Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) candidate for upcoming Municipal elections in Dooru area of South Kashmir's Kulgam district. Khan's family had gathered paddy in his field spread over one kanal for thrashing. But unidentified persons torched the harvest. Khan has filed his nomination papers from Municipal Committee Dooru -Verinag. In the meantime, after attacks on the houses of some candidates in Srinagar with petrol bombs, Independent candidates have complained of lack of security An Independent candidate from Ward 62 in Srinagar, Fasil Khan said that he was attacked two days back and has now shifted to a hotel. 'We have been promised adequate security but have not been provided anything yet. We are living in sharing rooms. I am traveling on my own', he said. Khan said that they are not being provided security for venturing out. 'I have to call police 50 times for security if I need to venture out. How come BJP candidates have the personal weapons and have one room for each candidate. If they think they are going to kill us let them shoot us on the road we are not going to withdraw. We are here for the people, maybe we may resign but our demand is why Independent candidates are being mistreated', he said. 'I don't feel safe anymore as I am getting threats. They say we will give you security. Nobody is giving us any response. We left our family. There are 79 candidates in the hotel and Government has only provided us with three cabs with only eight PSOs. If this hotel is targeted, do you think the PSOs can handle it'? he asked. The Independent candidate said that Government is trying to pressurize them so that they can withdraw. 'For last three days, they are pressurizing us. They are not providing us adequate security and proper accommodation so that the independent candidates should withdraw from elections', he alleged. Another candidate Firdous Ahmad Baba from Eidgah also complained of lack of facilities. 'We demand that the facilities which were promised to us should be provided. If they do not want to provide security to the Independent candidates, they should tell it openly. Neither we have security nor our families', he added. Additional Director General Police Law and Order and Security, Muneer Ahmad Khan, said that police has put candidates of Municipal and panchayat elections in hired hotels already guarded by heavy contingents of police and paramilitary. He said Government would think about incidental and cluster security after the polls are over. 'The number of candidates for Panchayat and Municipal elections unlike Assembly and Parliamentary elections is very large. Police can't provide security to every individual. The strategy for incidental and cluster security arrangements is being given a serious thought once the Municipal and Panchayat elections are over', he said.