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Kulgam goes to polls today

433 polling parties for 4 constituencies, heavy security deployment

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Srinagar, Apr 28:  Heavy deployments of police and paramilitary was made in Kulgam on Sunday as the district goes to polls for second phase of Anantnag Lok Sabha seat on Monday.

Voting in Kulgam district of the constituency is spread over four Assembly segments of Noorabad, Kulgam, Homshalibugh and Devsar.

Voting will take place in 433 polling stations and a total of 3,45,486 electors are eligible to vote.

 

Kulgam voting segment has the highest number of voters — 98,298.

Authorities have made elaborate arrangements to ensure that militants are prevented from disrupting the democratic process by creating multiple layers of security.

Security forces were moved out early weekend to take over the polling stations across Kulgam that has witnessed bloody gunfights between the government forces and militants during the last three years.

In addition to securing polling stations and areas around these, government forces have also been deployed on roads and hillside areas.

“The shifting of EVMs to places designated for their safe deposit and ensuring safety to the poll staff after they discharge their duties during the day is another major challenge the security forces face in this constituency,” poll officials said.

433 polling parties, comprising of 1732 polling  personnel and 62 Micro-Observers, along with poll material, EVMs/VVPAT machines were dispatched on Sunday for different polling stations of the district.

District Election Officer (DEO), Kulgam Dr Shameem Ahmad Wani said that a total of 1732 polling personnels have been dispatched for all polling stations of all four Assembly constituencies of district for smooth conduct of elections.

He impressed upon the Assistant Returning Officers, Zonal and Sector Magistrates to ensure that poll parties reach their destinations well in time.

Kulgam district is scheduled for Lok Sabha elections 2019 on 29 April (Monday) and has a total number of 344244 electorates including 7778 migrant voters.

Incidents of stone pelting at vehicles carrying the poll staff and the government forces back to the district headquarters after the poll process were witnessed during the first phase of the three-phased poll process on April 23 in this constituency.

Poll authorities have curtailed the voting hours in Anantnag constituency to ensure that the poll staff and the security forces return to designate places before darkness.

Voting hours have been scheduled from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. instead of 6 p.m. as was done in the poll process of other Lok Sabha constituencies in the state.

There are 18 candidates in the fray in this constituency, but the main contest is between Mehbooba Mufti of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Ghulam Ahmad Mir of Congress and Justice (Retired) Hasnain Masoodi of the National Conference (NC).

Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has fielded Sofi Yusuf, the Peoples Conference (PC), Choudhary Zafar Ali. In addition, there is a lone woman candidate, Ridwana Sanam who is fighting as an Independent candidate.

For the first time in the electoral history of the state, a non-local, Shams Khwaja, a lawyer from Uttar Pradesh, is also in the fray.

Third phase of polling is scheduled in this constituency on May 6.

Geelani reiterates shutdown in district today

Srinagar, Apr 28: Hurriyat (G) chairman, Syed Ali Geelani Sunday reiterated the call for shutdown and poll boycott on Monday in Kulgam district.

In a statement, Geelani said “by observing a boycott we can peacefully and meaningfully highlight the Kashmir issue at international level.”

Terming the election drama a mere “military operation”, Hurriyat (G) chairman said “to ensure the so-called graveyard peace, tens of thousands guns have been called in to throttle and harass the already suffocated population of Jammu and Kashmir.”


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Zakir Musa killing: Shutdown, restrictions on Day 2 as well

Nisar Dharma

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Srinagar, May 25: A complete shutdown was Saturday observed in Kashmir on the second as well against the killing of Zakir Musa, the militant ‘commander’ and chief of Ansar Ghazwatul Hind (AGH), who was shot dead during an encounter in Dadsara, Tral early Friday morning.
Authorities also continued placing curbs in parts of the valley to foil any protests or clashes. Following the orders from the divisional administration, all educational institutes across Kashmir remained closed for the second consecutive day as well.
High-speed mobile internet continued to remain suspended in most districts of Kashmir although 2G- speed internet service was restored in Budgam, Ganderbal and Srinagar on Saturday afternoon.
A police official said the curbs on the movement of people were in force in parts of Srinagar, Kulgam and Pulwama.
Train service on the Baramulla-Banihal line also remained suspended, the official said.
“Curfew continued to remain imposed in parts of the Kashmir valley today (Saturday) as a precautionary measure to maintain law and order,” the official said.
In Srinagar, he added, strict restrictions were in place in Nowhatta, Rainawari, Khanyar, Safakadal and M R Gung areas, while partial restrictions were in force in Maisuma and Kralkhud areas.
The official said that government forces including police and paramilitary was deployed in strength in other parts of the valley to avoid any untoward incident.
Meanwhile, most of the shops, fuel stations and other business establishments remained shut in the valley following the strike call by Hurriyat (G) chairman Syed Ali Shah Geelani against the killing of Zakir and a civilian Zahoor Ahmad, a resident of Naira Pulwama – who was killed allegedly by government forces on Thursday.
Public transport was also off the roads.
Zakir, one of the most-wanted militant ‘commanders’ in Kashmir, was killed in the encounter at Dadsara Tral after forces launched a search operation late Thursday evening following specific information about the presence of militants there.
His killing led to spontaneous shutdown and protests in the valley.

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Zakir’s death marks end of ‘radical jihad’: DGP

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Srinagar, May 25: Police Saturday said the killing of Ansar Ghazwatul Hind (AGH) Chief Zakir Musa has ended the “cult and concept of radical jihad” and Zakir was the last militant of “ISIS-influenced ideology”.
“Zakir Musa had created a new concept of radical jihad and militancy in Kashmir. He was the last militant of such radicalised ideology. With his killing, security forces have eliminated the last such militant who was influenced by ISIS kind of militancy in Kashmir,” Director General of Police, Dilbagh Singh was quoted saying by a local news agency.
The DGP said that youth should understand that “radical ideology or other kind of militancy leads to death and destruction.”
“Some youth were influenced by the radical ideology of Zakir Musa and we would see youth waving ISIS flags in Downtown around Jamia Masjid on Fridays. His killing is the death of radical concept of Jihad in Kashmir. Any radical idea of militancy is against the interests of youth and other people of the state,” the DGP said.
The DGP said that he appreciates and is grateful to the people of Kashmir for “maintaining peace and calm in the last three days.”
Zakir was killed in Dadsara village of Tral in Pulwama district by government forces in a gunfight during the intervening night of Thursday and Friday.
His killing triggered protests at several places with authorities imposing restrictions and Hurriyat calling for shutdown in Kashmir.

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‘Minorities have been cheated, have to stop it: Modi

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New Delhi, May 25: A bow before the Constitution of India was Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s first action after being unanimously elected the National Democratic Alliance’s leader as he set the agenda for the next term of his government in the Central Hall of Parliament on Saturday.
In his address, Modi reached out to minorities, who he said have been “cheated” by the opposition and called for the lawmakers to earn their trust and put an end to the deception immediately.
“We have worked for sabka saath, sabka vikas, now we have to strive for sabka vishwas,” the PM said while addressing NDA MPs in parliament’s Central Hall Saturday evening.
“The way the poor have been cheated, the minorities have been deceived the same way. It would have been good if their education, their health had been in focus. I expect from you in 2019 that you would be able to make a hole in that deception. We have to earn their trust,” PM Modi said.
The PM, who is likely to be sworn in next week, said this time in the general elections, people voted for pro-incumbency.
“There was pro-incumbency wave in this election, its result was a positive mandate,” the PM told NDA leaders, and added, “The 2019 elections have helped bring down walls, connect hearts.”
The BJP scored 303 seats in the 543-member Lok Sabha in the national election and along with its allies, won a remarkable tally of 353.
The formality of allies naming PM Modi as the undisputed leader of the NDA was carried out in the Central Hall of parliament amid loud applause, desk-thumping and chants of “Modi, Modi”.
Top alliance leaders, including Janata Dal United chief Nitish Kumar, Shiv Sena’s Uddhav Thackeray and Akali Dal’s Parkash Singh Badal were in the meeting.
On the dais, senior BJP leaders LK Advani and Murli Manohar Joshi flanked PM Modi.
Shiromani Akali Dal leader Parkash Singh Badal moved a resolution to elect PM Modi as the leader of the NDA Parliamentary Party which was supported by JDU chief and Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, Lok Janshakti Party chief Ram Vilas Paswan and other leaders of the NDA.
“The people have accepted Narendra Modi experiment again from their heart. I want to say this about Modiji, whom I have worked with – for 20 years, he has not taken even a day off. He has worked 18 hours a day.”
On Friday, the council of ministers led by PM Modi submitted their resignation which was accepted by President Kovind, paving way for formation of new government.
Accepting PM Modi’s resignation, the president had had asked them to continue as a caretaker until the formation of a new government.

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