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As J&K gears-up for LS polls, forces begin to frame ‘fool-proof’ security cover

Ishtiyaq Ahmad

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Srinagar, March 13: With stage set for the five-phased Lok Sabha polls in Jammu and Kashmir commencing from March 11, security agencies are in a huddle to frame a security plan to ensure smooth conduct of polls with area surveys, area domination, night patrolling and identification of polling booths being done on “fast track basis.”

More focus will remain on southern Kashmir where Election Commission of India has announced to hold polls in three phases, first time in the poll history of Jammu and Kashmir.

The reason or holding polls in three phases in one Lok Sabha constituency of South Kashmir’s Anantnag-Pulwama is the prevailing security situation in the area.

Reliable sources told Kashmir Indepth that the police, army, and the CRPF with the active support of intelligence inputs are mulling to frame a security plan for ensuring the smooth Lok Sabha polls.

“We are at it and exercises have been started on various fronts to frame a fool-proof security plan,” said a top police official. “We will ensure that all the polling booths are secured and guarded in a proper manner.”

Police said that it was also waiting for the political parties to finalise their candidates so that proper security cover is provided to them.

“Though we expect politicians contesting upcoming Lok Sabha polls to hold rallies, we will be securing the areas in advance to that hassle free rallies are conducted in the places where the candidates wish to address people,” the officer said.

Inspector General of CRPF Ravideep Singh Sahi said that forces have started night patrolling, area domination, and identification of polling booths in advance to ensure a conducive atmosphere is created for the polls.

“There will be a proper security plan as far how many people would guard the polling booth and how many would remain deployed for the area domination,” Sahi told Kashmir Indepth.

Police sources said that a proper advisory wills soon be issued to political parties for holding poll rallies.

“As far as South Kashmir, the political parties have to seek proper security clearance before addressing people,” said sources.

“South Kashmir continues to pose security challenges and that’s why ECI announced polls for South Kashmir LoK Sabha polls in three phases.

The ECI decided to hold Lok Sabha polls in the trouble-ravaged state and to defer the assembly polls due for the State citing security situation and huge need of additional forces for securing the contesting candidates. In J&K, there are six Lok Sabha constituencies and 87 Assembly seats.

The number of contesting candidates for six Parliamentary polls is not more than 15 while for the Assembly polls the number of contesting candidates is expected to be between 400 to 500.

If a single contesting candidate is provided five to ten forces personnel, that means there is a need of 50,000 additional forces which is not possible at this juncture as majority of central forces are presently busy country-wide given the seven-phased Lok Sabha polls set to commence from March 11 across India.

The additional 100 companies of forces have already reached Srinagar of which there are 3500 BSF men who will be deployed in summer capital after a gap of 14 years for “static guard” duties—guarding of important government buildings.



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