Srinagar: Security was beefed up on Sunday across Jammu and Kashmir ahead of the four-phase municipal elections slated to begin from Monday, police said.
Four-hundred additional companies of central paramilitary forces have already arrived here to augment the existing strength of the security forces deployed to provide a secured atmosphere to the poll process.
Extra ordinary security arrangements were seen on Sunday in Srinagar where voting is scheduled to be held in three wards for the city’s municipal corporation. Scores of motorbikes were seized by the police at various check posts in the city on Saturday and on Sunday with incomplete documents or in cases where the bikers had violated traffic rules.
All vehicles entering the city were being thoroughly checked. A senior police officer said these are basically area domination operations to ensure that mischief mongers are prevented from disturbing the poll process
All contesting candidates have been lodged in secured accommodations provided to them by the authorities. “Areas around the polling booths have been sanitized to ensure free and fair poll tomorrow (Monday),” the officer said. Hi-tech electronic surveillance equipment is also being used to strengthen human intelligence in areas where polling is scheduled.
In addition to three municipal corporation wards in Srinagar city, polling for municipal committees of Kupwara, Handwara, Bandipora, Baramulla, Chadoora, Badgam, Khansahib, Achabal, Devsar, Kokernag, Qazigund and Kulgam in the Kashmir Valley, Leh and Kargil in the Ladak region is scheduled for Monday.
In the Jammu region, polling for municipal committees of Bishnah, Arnia, R.S. Pura, Akhnoor, Khour, Jurian, Rajouri, Thanamandi, Nowshera, Kalakote, Sunderbani, Poonch and Surankote will also take place on Monday. In addition, voting will also be held in wards of Jammu municipal corporation.
The biggest challenge for the governor=led state administration is to ensure security for the voters. Mainstream political parties including the National Conference (NC), Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), CPI M, Peoples Democratic Front (PDF) headed by Hakim Yaseen and the Democratic Party Nationalist (DPN) headed by Ghulam Hassan Mir have decided to stay away from these polls.
Separatists have appealed people not to participate in the poll process and also announced a Valley wide protest shutdown.