JAMMU, oct 4:Over 16 lakh voters are eligible to vote in the four-phased Jammu and Kashmir urban local body polls that begin from October 8, officials said.
“As many as 982 candidates have filed their nominations for the four phases of the ULB and municipal polls in the Kashmir valley,” a senior official of the state election department told PTI.
While the two major regional political parties, the PDP and the National Conference, have boycotted the polls, 982 other candidates have filed their nominations, another official said.
Officials said 179 candidates have been declared elected unopposed in the polls, which will be held in the backdrop of threats by terror groups.
In Devsar municipal polls, all the 8 candidates were declared elected unopposed, they said.
In Charar-e-Sharief (Budgam) 11 candidates were declared elected unopposed while the number of such victorious candidates was 10 in Bandipora’s Hajin, they said. Nine candidates each were declared elected unopposed to the civic bodies in Budgam, Anantnag and Langate while 8 each were chosen without a contest in Choudra, Kokernag, Watergam, Sopore and Ashmuqam areas, they said.
Chief Electoral Officer, J&K, Shaleen Kabra confirmed it.
According to official statistics, as many as 258 candidates filed nominations and after withdrawal and checking of forms, 199 candidates were left in the fray for the first phase of polling on October 8th.
In this phase, 69 candidates were declared elected “uncontested”, according to officials.
For the second phase, 61 candidates were declared elected uncontested while 209 others are in the fray.
Forty nine candidates were declared elected unopposed for the third phase, out of 194 candidates, who filed their nominations while the remaining will have to battle it out at the hustings, officials said.
For the fourth phase, 260 candidates have filed nomination papers and the process for scrutiny of papers and withdrawal is on, according to officials.
“As many as 16,97,291 electors will exercise their franchise in 1,145 wards across the state of J&K in four phase polls beginning October 8”, a senior election department officer said.
Out of total 1,145 wards, 90 wards have been reserved for Scheduled Castes and 38 wards have been reserved for Scheduled Tribes which includes 31 and 13 wards reserved for SC and ST women respectively, he said.
In addition, 322 wards have been reserved for women belonging to open category, he added. Srinagar Municipal Corporation (SMC) has the highest number of 6,63,775 electors for the city’s 74 wards, he said.
The first phase of polling will be undertaken on October 8, followed by second phase on October 10, third on October 13 and the fourth and final phase on October 16, he said. Counting of the votes will be taken up on October 20, the officer said.
The state’s major political parties — National Conference and PDP — have boycotted the elections over the legal challenge to Article 35-A of the Constitution in the Supreme Court.
Principal’s ‘custodial killing’: Probe officer meets family, locals
Srinagar, Mar 23: Assistant Commissioner Revenue (ACR) Pulwama Qazi Masood probing the “custodial killing” of a school principal Saturday met the victim’s family in Awantipora area of Pulwama district.
Rizwan Asad Pandit, the Principal of Sabir Abdullah Public School Tral, was picked up by the police from his home late on March 17 during a raid and was killed in police custody at the Cargo Building two days later, according to his family.
Although the police had initially admitted that Rizwan had “died” in custody and that the matter was being probed under “procedure laid down in Section 176 of CRPC,” it later filed an FIR against him for “escape or attempts to escape from custody”, lending a new twist to the case.
The magisterial inquiry that was ordered in Srinagar was also closed and a fresh probe ordered in Pulwama district and a report sought in “four weeks.”
“Government has appointed me as an inquiry officer, I assured the family that I will conduct the fair investigation into the case,” the inquiry officer Qazi Masood told GNS after meeting Rizwan’s family members and local residents.
Masood said he has sought a report from SP Awantipora on why and how Rizwan was detained and the circumstances that led to his death.
“I have also sought a postmortem report from the SP,” the officer said.
Meanwhile, reports said that soon after the inquiry officer arrived in the area and met the family members, locals held a protest demonstration demanding stern action against the guilty.
Civil society, traders, Bar demand special inquiry commission
Srinagar, Mar 23: Kashmir business community, civil society, and High Court Bar Association on Saturday asked Jammu and Kashmir Governor Satya Paul Malik to set-up an independent Special Commission of inquiry in the custodial killing of Awantipora school teacher Rizwan Asad Pandit.
Addressing a press conference in Srinagar, they said that there have been countless instances of inquiries being ordered in killings without any results.
“To deter future violations, we appeal to the Governor for setting up of a time-bound Independent Special Commission of Inquiry,” they said.
The members said that till the time the commission submits its report, it would serve justice if the case is treated to be one of custodial killing and all persons associated with it are put behind bars and kept away from active duty.
“Such inquiries, suffering from institutional bias and state interference, have rarely served the interests of justice,” they said.
“We have a reason to believe that this killing would also suffer the same fate and the killers would again roam free to kill, more confident in the fact that their crimes will never be brought to account,” they said.
They said that the repeated perpetration of serious violations of human rights and humanitarian law needs in-depth fact-finding and investigation.
On Tuesday, Rizwan Asad Pandit, a 29-year-old school teacher, died inside the Jammu and Kashmir’s CARGO camp in Srinagar.
He was picked up for questioning from his home in Awantipora on Sunday.
The family had said that his body bore evidence of being subjected to extreme physical violence.
The press conference was jointly held by KCC&I, High Court Bar Association, KTMF, KEA, KTMF (R), FCIK(A), FCIK(M), JKSECC, KCSDS, KHARA, CCIK, All Transport Welfare Association, Kashmir Valley Fruit Growers Dealers Association, Houseboat Owners Association, KHAROF, Pvt School Association, Kashmir Bakers Association, All Kashmir Chemist & Distributors Association, Hoteliers Club, All Traders & Transporters Coordination Committee, All J&K Taxi Owners Association, Association Of Kashmir Tour, Environmental Protection Group, Shehr E Khaas Coordination, Beopar Mandal S R Gunj, Rehabilitation Alliance, and Batamaloo Traders Association.
ED imposes Rs 14.4 lakh penalty on Geelani
Srinagar, Mar 22: The Enforcement Directorate (ED) Friday imposed Rs 14.4 lakh penalty, on Hurriyat (G) chairman Syed Ali Shah Geelani for “illegally” possessing foreign exchange of around $10,000, news agency PTI reported.
After completion of the probe and adjudication proceeding, the ED an order on Wednesday under the Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA), levying the penalty and confiscating forex of $10,000 that was allegedly recovered from Geelani, they said.
The ED will also impose a penalty on Yasin Malik, Chairman of Jammu Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF) and confiscate foreign exchange recovered from him. The adjudication proceedings against Malik are in progress.
On Wednesday, a Delhi court also allowed ED to quiz Geelani’s son-in-law Altaf Shah and others in connection with an alleged funding case.