Security agencies spell out dos and don'ts to political parties in Valley

Candidates asked to go by new guidelines

Despite militants being on run, security agencies in Kashmir have asked contesting candidates to follow newly formulated security guidelines for the Lok Sabha elections.

Sources told Deccan Herald that candidates in North and South Kashmir parliamentary constituencies will be allowed to hold public rallies only at designated and well secured locations only.

“With presence of militants in some pockets of north and south Kashmir no fresh venue can be proposed by the political parties except for those approved by the security agencies,” they said.

“The police have asked the parties to intimate the security grid six days prior to holding any public rallies or meetings,” they said and warned that militants may also try to attack soft targets to instil fear in voters.

A senior police officer said dos and don’ts have secretly been passed to all mainstream political parties for their poll campaigns.

“Especially high profile candidates like opposition PDP president Mehbooba Mufti contesting from south Kashmir, PDP candidate from north Kashmir Muzaffar Beig, ruling NC candidates and incumbent MPs Dr Mehboob Beg and Sharif-ud-Din Shariq have been asked not to cross the security line,” he said.

The officer said security agencies are particularly worried over the activities of militant overground workers (OGWs). 

“The real threat emerges from local OGWs whose number has gone up this year. They remain unlisted and police have no record or information about them. Recycling of former militants poses another challenge as there are more than 20,000 former militants in the state,” he added. 

Inspector General of Police (IGP) Kashmir A G Mir says there are 130 militants active in the valley. 

“However, police have an upper hand after recent successful operations against the militants,” he said and added around 11 local boys have joined militant ranks after the hanging of Parliament attack convict Afzal Guru. 

In the first three months of this year more than a dozen militants including some top commanders have been killed. Two dozen militants have also been apprehended so far.

Though so far militants haven’t carried any major attack since the election scheuled was announced, the security agencies said militants in the past had always tried to disrupt the poll process in the state and this time, too, they would create disturbance. 

They say the separatists call for poll boycott might be another reason for militants to disrupt the poll process.

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