Jammu, Jun 22: Tracking chips will be installed in vehicles bound for the annual Amarnath Yatra in Jammu and Kashmir, scheduled to commence next week, as part of foolproof security arrangements to ensure an incident-free pilgrimage.
“Special counters have been set up at Lakhanpur, the gateway to Jammu and Kashmir bordering Punjab. All the vehicles carrying Amarnath pilgrims will be installed with tracking chips to keep an eye on their movement,” inspector general of police, Jammu, SD Singh Jamwal told PTI.
The 60-day yatra to the 3,880 metre high holy cave shrine of Amarnath in south Kashmir Himalayas is scheduled to begin on June 28.
The first batch of the pilgrims will leave Bagwati Nagar base camp from here on June 27.
Jamwal said such a technology was being used for the first time which would help the police keep an eye on the vehicles once they leave for the twin base camps of Baltal in Ganderbal and Pahalgam in Anantnag – the twin tracks leading to the cave shrine which houses the naturally formed ice ‘Shivlingam’.
“Like in the past, the pilgrims will leave the base camp here in a convoy and through chip tracking, we can ensure that no vehicle is left behind or loses its way,” Jamwal said.
Asserting that all necessary security arrangements have been made for the yatra this year, the IGP asked the pilgrims to visit the shrine without any fear.
“We have made elaborate security arrangements. All security agencies, including the Army, police, paramilitary forces and state and central intelligence agencies are working together. All the roads and tracks from Lakhanpur to the cave shrine have been covered,” he said.
The police official said security forces were working round-the-clock to foil any nefarious design of the subversive elements.
“We are ready to deal with any situation,” the IGP said, adding the police are working with various agencies and government departments to make the pilgrimage a memorable one for the yatris.
Jamwal said security around the base camp in the city and the temples where the ‘sadhus’ (seers) are putting up has also been strengthened.
In addition, he said a plan has also been chalked out to thwart infiltration of terrorists from across the International Border and Line of Control (LoC).
“Special checking points have been set up on the roads leading to border areas, while the police stations and posts have been strengthened,” the officer said.
He added that the police were also cooperating with the Shri Amarnath Ji Shrine Board and have worked out a plan to help the pilgrims in distress.
Poll battle shifts to Anantnag, 18 candidates in fray
Srinagar, Apr 20: The poll battle has now shifted to Anantnag Parliamentary Constituency, spread over four south Kashmir districts of Anantnag, Kulgam, Shopian and Pulwama, where 13.93 lakh voters will decide the fate of 18 candidates in three phases — April 23, April 29 and May 6.
The Election Commission (EC) has decreased the polling hours by two hours in the constituency.
The polling will be held between 0700 hrs to 1600 hrs for security reasons.
Former chief minister Mehbooba Mufti, state Congress president G A Mir and Justice (retd) Hasnain Masoodi are among the 18 candidates seeking mandate from the constituency where polling will be held in three phases because of security reasons.
Considered as stronghold of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) following its win in 11 out of 16 Assembly segments in 2014, the constituency has witnessed major change after the party formed coalition government with the BJP in the state.
The constituency witnessed encounters and youth joined militancy after the unholy alliance between PDP and BJP,’ opposition said.
Though all political parties, including National Conference (NC), PDP, BJP and Congress organised poll meetings under very heavy security cover, majority people remained indifferent to election process.
The campaigning so far witnessed some militant attacks, including hurling grenades, firing on a vehicle carrying poll material, besides stone pelting.
Due to security reasons, bypoll could not be held in the constituency after the seat fell vacant when Ms Mufti resigned to become the chief minister of the state following demise of her father Mufti Mohammad Sayeed in 2016.
However, bypoll in Srinagar constituency was held in 2016 after PDP MP Tariq Hameed Karra resigned in protest against party’s coalition with BJP.
Later, Farooq Abdullah of NC was elected. Even though there are 18 candidates seeking mandate from the constituency, the main contest is expected to be between Mufti, Mir and Masoodi.
CPI(M), which has not fielded any candidate, is supporting NC nominee from Anantnag constituency. Jammu and Kashmir Peoples Conference, which does not have much of a presence in south Kashmir, has fielded Chaudhry Zaffar Ali as its candidate.
BJP, which had managed to garner only 1.26 per cent of the votes polled in Lok Sabha constituency during 2014 general election, has fielded Sofi Yousuf, a MLC this time. Besides candidates from other smaller parties, there are 10 independent candidates in fray for the constituency.
The EC in a notification issued on Friday fixed the polling time, in all the polling stations, for the Anantnag parliamentary Constituency from 0700 hrs to 1600 hrs. The earlier timing notified by the Commission was between 0700 hrs to 1800 hrs.
Will ensure smooth conduct of polls: DGP
Srinagar, Apr 20: Director General of Police Dilbagh Singh said that the forces will ensure the smooth conduct of Anantnag Lok Sabha elections, scheduled to commence from Wednesday in three phases.
The polling for Anantnag Lok Sabha polls will be held in three phases – April 23, April 29, and May 6.
The DGP said that police and other security agencies are fully prepared for peaceful and smooth conduct of elections. “Force are alert and have made all preparations for the smooth Anantnag Lok Sabha elections,” he said.
Singh further said that the forces will also ensure security of poll officials during the election days.
He said that the priority would be to hold violence-free elections and all possible measures will be taken for this. “Police force and the intelligence wing have been kept on alert to combat any threat.”
The DGP told KNS that all the arrangements are being made, so that the polling process is not affected and the people can exercise their voting rights without fear. “The security of polling personnel and polling booths will be taken care of. Special patrolling will be carried out in the sensitive and hyper-sensitive areas,” he said.
“I can assure from the point of the police and the sister security agencies that we are on the ground and we are set to ensure that there is a peaceful election in south Kashmir. Any attempt to vitiate the electoral process would not be allowed” the DGP maintained.
The DGP stressed on greater synergy among different agencies deployed to be for election duties, saying that the coordination among all stakeholders would help to prevail a conducive atmosphere for the people to exercise their franchise.
He said that Jammu and Kashmir Police (JKP) has a rich experience in conducting the electoral process and the force along with other sister agencies would leave no stone unturned to conduct the election in a congenial atmosphere in this Lok Sabha seat.
“I am sure elections will pass on successfully and peacefully. I wish my officers on the ground all the very best. Given the past experience of JK police, they have sailed through difficult times and I am sure that the major event (polls) in south Kashmir will be successful.”
The DGP stressed whatever support in shape of logistic and manpower is required will be pooled and placed at the disposal for the smooth conduct of polls.
The DGP further told KNS that stern action will be taken against the elements that foment trouble and at the same time contingency plans will be ready to tackle any eventuality.
Meanwhile sources said that the security agencies in south Kashmir were busy conducting vulnerability mapping of booths and identifying of critical polling stations based on the past incidents of violence.
BJP’s anti-Muslim posturing out in open: NC
Srinagar, Apr 20: Jammu and Kashmir National Conference on Saturday condemned the recent statement of a BJP functionary wherein he had asked voters to cast their ballot in favor of PM Modi if they want to “destroy Muslims”, saying that such horrible assertion is reflective of BJP’s aversion for Muslims.
In a statement issued from party headquarters Nawa-e-Subah, party’s provincial spokesperson Imran Nabi Dar while condemning the BJP statement said that what is alarming here is the fact that PM Modi, cabinet ministers and BJP functionaries haven’t censured the person for his hateful statement against Muslims.
“We are hearing this kind of intimidation in broad day light by a BJP functionary addressing a public gathering in Barabanki, Uttar Pradesh. The person had sordidly vowed to destroy the breed of Muslims and not just that, he has said that the party will bring machines from China to shave Muslims and convert them to Hinduism. Why is PM mute on this issue? This does not behoove his political denomination.”
Imran said that having been failed to deliver on the promises made by it, BJP is again resorting to hate mongering and fanning of communal passions.
“Such distasteful communal election time rhetoric is tailored to fan communal passions and polarize the people in the run up to elections. The sheer naïve attitude of PM and other high rung leaders of BJP over this issue reveal that divisiveness and polarization is the social and the accepted policy within BJP. Every sane voice in India should come forward and dismiss this sort of campaign rhetoric. However this should act as an eye opener to the people of country while they make their choices for the kind of government they want to have for next five years. We have had enough of this. Our party too is spearheading the campaign against such divisive agenda of BJP and its cronies in our state with the active support of people.”