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Panchayat elections: Polling for phase-III today

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Jammu, Nov 23: Polling for Phase-III of Panchayat Polls-2018 will be held on Saturday at 2773 polling stations including 918 in Kashmir division and 1855 in Jammu division.
According to the Chief Electoral Officer, J&K, Shaleen Kabra, 727 polling stations have been categorized as hypersensitive in Phase-III, including 493 in Kashmir division and 234 in Jammu division.
He said 5239 candidates are in the fray in Phase-III for 358 Sarpanch and 1652 Panch seats, while 96 Sarpanchs and 1437 Panchs have been elected unopposed in this Phase.
He said in the areas going to polls in Phase-III, electorate of 423592 will be voting for Sarpanch constituencies while 270668 will be voting for Panch constituencies. “Photo Voter Slips have been distributed among the voters to inform them of their polling station,” he said.
Kabra said in the Phase-I of Panchayat Polls held on 17 November 2018, 74.1% polling was recorded across J&K including 64.5% in Kashmir division and 79.4% in Jammu division. In the Phase-II of Panchayat Polls held on 20 November 2018, overall 71.1% polling was witnessed across the State with an overwhelming 80.4% polling in Jammu division and 52.2% in Kashmir division.
CEO said in Phase-II, repoll was held for Ward No: 6 of Panchayat Halqa Feller-A, Block Thakrie, Kishtwar on 21 November and a turnout of 71.8% was recorded. Results have been announced for all these by the respective Returning Officers, he said.
Kabra said the orders have been passed in various complaint cases as well as directions of the Courts and wherever necessary Notifications reappointing the election schedules have been issued. “All such orders/notifications are available at website of CEO J&K,” he said.
Kabra said Basic Minimum Facilities (BMF) have been ensured in all the polling stations across the State for Phase-III. Photo Voter Slips have been distributed among the voters to inform them of their polling stations.
He said senior government officers have been appointed as General Observers to oversee the smooth, fair and orderly conduct of Panchayat Elections, 2018. Also, Expenditure Observers are keeping a watch on the expenditure by the candidates. In addition, for the poll day, Micro Observers have been placed in polling stations, particularly those considered hypersensitive. Besides, the Zonal and Sector Magistrates too have been deployed.
CEO said Control Rooms have been established in all the districts across the State to respond promptly to any complaints of violation of the Model Code of Conduct as also to disseminate information to the public. Security arrangements have been made including deployment of Central Armed Police Forces (CAPF).
He said the Government has declared holiday on the day of poll in the panchayat areas going to polls so as to enable the voters to cast their vote. He said special casual leave shall also be granted to the employees who have to go to other areas to exercise their right to franchise. As per standing guidelines, the Central Government offices shall not be closed but the employees who are electors of the poll going wards and desire to exercise their franchise shall be offered reasonable facility to do so.
The Chief Electoral Officer, J&K appealed the voters to come forward and exercise their right to franchise in order to choose their local self-government to address their local needs.


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Tribunal serves notice to Jamaat-e-Islami

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Srinagar, Apr 19: The Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Tribunal, constituted by the Centre, has issued a show cause notice to Jamaat-e-Islami Jammu Kashmir (JeI), which was banned by the government in February, asking it why the organisation cannot be declared as an unlawful association.

“A notice is hereby given under sub-section (2) of Section 4 of the Act (Unlawful Activities Prevention Act) and you are hereby called upon to show cause, within 30 days from the date of service of this notice, as to why your Association, declared as unlawful, be not adjudicated to be so and why an order confirming such declaration be not made under Section 4(3) of the Act,” said the notice issued by Registrar, Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Tribunal, Lorren Bamniyal, to the JeI.

 

The notice was issued on April 5.

The Tribunal asked the Jamaat to file objections or reply affidavits, if any, before the next date of hearing of the Tribunal at the office of the Registrar.

“In case the objections/reply and the documents are in regional language, true English translation thereof be also attached. You may appear through a duly authorised person before the Tribunal on 20 May, 2019 at 3 PM in Court Room number 26 for further proceedings,” the notice said.

The Centre had constituted the tribunal headed by a Delhi High Court judge to decide whether there is sufficient cause for declaring the JeI as an unlawful association.

The Ministry of Home Affairs on March 23 had issued a notification which states that Justice Mukta Gupta would head the tribunal set up under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA).

The government in its February 28 notification had banned the JeI, saying it was of the opinion that the Jamaat is “in close touch with militant outfits” and is supporting “extremism and militancy” in Jammu and Kashmir and elsewhere.

It said the outfit claims “secession of a part of the Indian territory from the Union” and supporting terrorist and separatist groups fighting for this purpose.

The action came following the February 14 attack in Pulwama that killed over 40 CRPF personnel.

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Two militants killed in Rafiabad gunfight:Reports

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Srinagar, Apr 19: Multiple gunshots were heard in Malpora Watergam area of Rafiabad in North Kashmir’s Baramulla district on Friday evening.

Sources said that at around 8:55 pm, unknown persons fired a volley of bullets in paddy fields in Malpora Watergam village of Rafiabad.

Sources said that a joint team of Army’s 32RR and Jammu and Kashmir Police’s SOG cordoned off the area in Malpora Watergam after credible inputs about presence of militants.

 

They said that as the forces laid the siege, gunshots were heard from the area.

SP Sopore Javid Iqbal said that “we are verifying the incident.”

He said that a cordon has been launched in the area.

Unconfirmed reports at the time of filing this report said that two militants were killed during the gunfight that ensued soon after.

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Budgam: NC worker of 4 decades stays away from polls

Firdous Hassan

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Srinagar, Apr 18: Outside a two-storey Government Girls Higher Secondary High School in Ichigam village of Budgam, a man donning a chequered pheran loudly quipped at every person entering the polling booth to cast his or her vote on Thursday.

He argued with them over the performance of their elected leaders in the past as agents of political parties tried hard to convince him to cast his vote or stay away from others who wanted to.

Ghulam Hassan, in his 60s, has been an avid supporter of National Conference (NC) at Ichigam for the last 40 years.   

 

Having worked hard over the years to lure voters for NC, Hassan, Thursday, was one among those who sidelined from the party and preferred not to vote.

He said the previous regimes failed to develop his area due to which he had decided to boycott and also not to “befool” people in this Lok Sabha election.

“It was the only option available with me. I have been supporting the party (NC) ever since I became eligible to caste vote. But it didn’t benefit me nor people of my area,” he said.

Hassan, who as per locals, would often engage himself in heated arguments with political rivals during elections, was dejected over the state of roads and growing unemployment in his village.

“I have two sons, who are sitting idle at home. Many students here have completed their higher studies and haven’t got a job. These politicians appear only during elections and forget their promises once they are elected,” he said.

Hassan said the idea of boycotting the election was way better than living with a hope of some relief from the politicians.

“Under these circumstances, it is better that you vote for a candidate who is trustworthy. But we are short of such candidates,” he said.

When agents attempted “tricking” him by saying his vote would secure Article 370 and 35-A, he replied, “Many among you have voted and let us see how your vote will benefit Kashmir,” he said.

Few metres away in another polling booth in Ichigam, Ghulam Muhammad Dar voiced similar concerns but said he voted after trusting the candidate for one last time.

“I have been casting my vote for the last 50 years and have seen how these politicians befool people. But this is going to be my last vote if the candidate didn’t work for the development and safeguarding special position of Kashmir,” he said.

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