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ULB elections: Final phase today, 36 wards to go to polls

Mubashir Bukhari

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Srinagar, Oct 15: With many candidates elected unopposed and a number segments not receiving a single nomination, there will be voting in only 36 of the 132 wards which were scheduled to go for polls on Tuesday in the fourth and final phase of urban local bodies elections in Jammu and Kashmir.

In addition, repoll shall be held at polling station number nine of Bachidarwaza, Makhdoom Sahab (Ward No: 41) on Tuesday where five candidates are in the fray with a total electorate of 1260.

In the final phase, the electorate will seal the fate of 150 candidates in Srinagar and Ganderbal districts.

 

Officials said arrangements have been made for the smooth conduct of the polls which are scheduled to begin at 6.00 am and end at 4.00 pm.

They said the election staff and polling material have reached respective polling stations. Heavy security bandobast has been put in place near the polling stations, while security forces have been carrying out area-domination exercises over the last couple of days, officials said.

Eight municipal bodies spanning across six districts — all in Kashmir valley – were scheduled to go for polls on Tuesday in the fourth and final phase. However, out of the eight only two will see voting. There will be no contest in the rest of the six bodies.

The Ganderbal Municipal Committee will see voting in 12 wards out of the 17 in total. Polling will be held in 24 out of the total 25 wards in the Srinagar Municipal Corporation (SMC) in the summer capital of the state.

Only these 36 wards will go to polls on Tuesday, in which 150 candidates are in the fray — 38 in Ganderbal and 112 in Srinagar. Five candidates from Ganderbal and one from Srinagar have been elected unopposed.

The rest of the bodies – Pattan in Baramulla district of north Kashmir, Pampore, Pulwama and Khrew in Pulwama district in south, Shopian Municipal Committee in Shopian district in south and Dooru Verinag in Anantnag district also in south Kashmir will see no voting.

Together these six bodies have 90 wards. While candidates from 11 wards out of the total 13 in the Pattan municipal body have been elected unopposed, two wards received no nomination papers.

Not a single nomination paper was submitted in any of the 13 wards of the Khrew municipal body. In the Pampore municipal body, which has 17 wards, five candidates were elected unopposed, while 12 wards received no nomination papers.

Out of the 13 wards in Pulwama municipal body, no candidate was in the fray in 11 wards while two candidates were elected unopposed.

In the 17 wards of Shopian, 12 were elected without contest, while five wards received no nominations.

While one ward received no nomination in the municipal body of Dooru Verinag, 16 candidates were elected uncontested.

In total, out of the 132 wards across the eight bodies 44 wards received no nominations, while 52 wards saw candidates getting elected without contest.

National Conference, along with PDP and CPI(M), have boycotted the polls due to the legal challenge to Article 35-A of the Constitution in the Supreme Court.

The voter turnout in the first two phases of the civic polls in the valley has been low. While 8.3 per cent of the electorate turned up to vote in the 83 wards in the first phase on October 8, the poll percentage fell to an abysmal 3.4 per cent in the second phase held on October 10.

The third phase of polling for civic bodies in Kashmir on October 13 witnessed a low turnout of just 3.49 per cent, in line with the trend set in the first two phases.


Mubashir joined The Kashmir Monitor as a reporter/ sub-editor in Jan 2013. Since then, he has been consistently covering beats including conflict, politics, education, and health. He is also handling online section of the paper besides working as Video Producer.

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Jaish almost wiped out, no one willing to head it: Army

Mudassir Kuloo

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Srinagar, Apr 24: Army on Wednesday claimed the government forces have “severely targeted” the militants for the last few months and Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) militant outfit was “almost wiped out with no one willing to take over it”.

Addressing a press conference here, GOC 15 Corps, KJS Dhillon, who was accompanied by Director General of Police (DGP) Dilbagh Singh, IGP Kashmir SP Pani, and IG CRPF Zulfikar Hassan, said that 69 militants have been killed and 12 of them arrested so far this year.

“Post Pulwama incident, 41 militants have been killed and out of them 25 belonged to Jaish-e-Mohammed, 13 of them were Pakistanis while 13 were A+ category,” Dhillon said.

 

The GOC 15 Corps claimed that they have targeted JeM leadership.

“The situation now is so that no one is coming forward to take over the leadership of JeM in the valley,” he said.

“Even after Pakistan’s best efforts, we will continue to suppress JeM. The operations against the militants will continue with full vigour and we will not let militancy rise up,” he said, while appealing the local militants to surrender.

“Recruitment of local militants has gone down. In addition, those who surrender, we will take care of their security,” he said.

Dhillon also advised civilians not to rush to the encounter sites.

Asked about the bi-weekly restrictions on civilian traffic on the Highway, he replied, “This is just a temporary measure. There are now relaxations on the civilian traffic.”

On the occasion, the DGP said 272 militants were killed in the state during 2018 and a “large number was apprehended.”

He too claimed that the local recruitment in militant outfits had declined.

“2018 was generally a successful year. There has been less ‘law and order’ problem. We brought many youth (who had joined militancy) back to their homes,” the DGP claimed.

“Elections have been conducted peacefully in the state because of a well-planned security grid. Voter turnover at 13 percent in Anantnag district is not less. People voted despite threats, no one can be forced to vote,” he said.

Asked there were reports that 11 youth had gone missing in south Kashmir during the last one month, the IGP Kashmir said, “Few had gone missing but returned. They had gone missing for other reasons, not to join militancy.”

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Held Pak militant paraded before media

‘Chota Dujana was active in Srinagar for over a year’

Mudassir Kuloo

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Srinagar, Apr 24: Police on Wednesday presented a Pakistani militant Mohammad Waqar, alias Chota Dujana before the media, who, they claimed, was arrested from Pattan area in Baramulla on Monday.

During a press conference here, the militant was briefly allowed to respond to media.

“My name is Mohammad Waqar, resident of Miana Mohalla Punjab in Pakistan. I underwent a four-month militant training there,” he said.

 

 “I was told that Kashmiris are harassed, women are assaulted and Muslims are not allowed to offer prayers in Masjids. But I did not find any such thing here,” he replied when asked why had he picked up arms.

The militant was soon moved away.

SSP Baramulla, Abdul Wahid, said Waqar was affiliated with Lashkar-e-Toiba and had arrived in Kashmir in July 2017.

“He was operating in Srinagar for over a year now,” the officer said.

He added that the militant was travelling in a vehicle along with a Kashmiri when they were intercepted by the police near Mirgund, Pattan.

“They were chased and arrested near Chainabal Pattan,” he said.

The SSP said that as per their preliminary investigations, the militant was given shelter in old city as well as uptown areas of Srinagar.

“His plan was to resurrect militancy in Baramulla,” Wahid said.

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Malik sent to judicial custody till May 24

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New Delhi, Apr 24: A Delhi court Wednesday sent the Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF) chief Yasin Malik, arrested in connection with the alleged funding case, to judicial custody till May 24.

The Tihar jail authorities have also moved an application seeking direction to produce Malik through video conferencing due to security concerns.

The family of Yasin Malik, said on Saturday, that the JKLF chief had fallen ill and was shifted to a Delhi hospital after he went on a hunger strike to protest against his “illegal” detention.

 

Earlier this month, Malik was brought to Delhi from Jammu and was later arrested by NIA in connection with an alleged case related to the funding of militant and separatist groups in Jammu and Kashmir. He was produced in a special court which remanded him in NIA’s custody till April 22.

Malik was shifted to Delhi’s Tihar Jail after NIA secured his production remand.  The JKLF chief was taken into preventive custody in February by the J&K police and lodged in Jammu’s Kot Balwal jail.

Malik organisation JKLF was banned last month by the Centre.

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