CIVIC POLLS: Candidates suggested ‘precautionary measures’ for campaigning
Srinagar, Sep 22: Amid threats by militants, authorities have advised the candidates to take all ‘precautionary measures’ before holding any rallies ahead of the upcoming polls. Apprehensions are being raised that the situation is not conducive for the upcoming election for the urban local bodies and panchayats in Kashmir. The militants have issued threats against participation in the polls while the Hurriyat has called for poll-boycott. While the security agencies have ruled out providing security to every candidate, the Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) has issued guidelines to the candidates. As per the guidelines, the party or candidate need to inform police of the venue and time of any proposed meeting well in time so as to “enable the police to make necessary arrangements for controlling traffic and maintain law and order”. “A party or candidate organising a procession shall decide before hand the time and place of the starting of the processions, the route to be followed and the time place at which the procession will terminate. There shall ordinary be no deviation from the programme,” the guidelines read. “Organisers of a meeting shall invariably seek the assistance of the police on duty for dealing with the persons disturbing a meeting and otherwise attempting to create disorder,” the guidelines say. A police official said they have been framing a roadmap for the polls. The official said south Kashmir was “most volatile” given the presence of local militants and the sentiment attached to them. “The security forces will sensitise roads for election rally venues,” the 0official added. Additional Director General of Police (ADGP) law and order and security, Munir Ahmad Khan, said adequate arrangements were being put in place for “peaceful polls”. “Whatever measures are to be taken, the security agencies will take. The deployment will be as per the requirement,” Khan said. The government has announced 4-phase ULB and 9-phase panchayat elections in the state. The ULB polls would be held on October 8, 10, 13 and 16 while panchayat polls would be held between November 17 and December 11. The government had already retained about 213 additional companies (21,300 forces personnel) of central paramilitary forces, which were brought to the valley for two-month Amarnath Yatra. They have been deployed in various districts in advance. National Conference and Peoples Democratic Party, the two biggest regional political outfits in the state, have decided to boycott the elections, citing the legal threat to Article 35A. Home Minister of India, Rajnath Singh, has appealed political parties in Jammu and Kashmir to participate in the polls.