Predictions of thin-margin wins prompt thick security measures

Predictions of thin-margin wins prompt thick security measures

Amid predictions that results in majority of Assembly segments in Jammu and Kashmir will be decided by narrow margins, authorities have decided to ensure fool-proof security arrangements on December 23, the day when counting of votes will be held.

The counting is scheduled to be held from 9 am on Tuesday at 28 counting centres throughout the state.

A senior official told Deccan Herald that fearing clashes between the supporters of rival parties, the administration may put blanket ban on victory processions in some troublesome areas. “Authorities are taking no chances with security arrangements for the day. Surcharged political atmosphere and possibility of seats being decided by narrow margins can lead to disagreements between the rival parties,” he said.

“Multi-tier security arrangements have been made for the counting day while Section 144 would be imposed in and around all the counting halls to maintain law and order,” he added.

Sources said Divisional Commissioner of Kashmir Rohit Kansal had written a letter to all the Deputy Electoral Officers on Saturday asking them to hold meetings with representatives of political parties regarding victory celebrations. “During the meetings, they (representatives) were told that their candidates and supporters should follow the security protocols on the counting day in letter and spirit,” they said.

J&K Chief Electoral Officer Umang Narula, who inspected various counting centres in the Kashmir valley, on Sunday, said, “Every Assembly segment will be having around 10 tables and each table will have a counting supervisor, counting assistant, counting agents and a micro observer. Only after the outcome of a round of counting is announced will the next round of counting begin.”

A top police official said extra vigil will be maintained as chances of close contest and heightened tension between supporters of the political parties are more this time. “Apart from the three-tier security in place, additional police personnel have been deployed. Security has been beefed up and all visitors and their vehicles will be subjected to thorough checking,” he said.

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