100 additional companies deployed in Anantnag for polls

A senior Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) officer said that the whole of south Kashmir poses a challenge. PTI file photo for representation

Amid multi-layer security cover and an election boycott call by separatists, Kulgam district in Anantnag Lok Sabha seat will go for polls in the second leg of three-phased schedule for the restive region.

A senior Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) officer said that as whole south Kashmir poses a challenge, “all the measures have been taken to ensure the smooth polling in Kulgam.”

He disclosed that over 100 companies of additional forces will remain deployed in Kulgam on poll day in “various layers”—a separate layer of joint parties for protection of polling booths, another one for dealing with the law and order challenges, and the third one for “preventing the militant designs to disrupt the polls.”

IGP Kashmir Swayam Prakash Pani said elaborate and comprehensive security arrangements will remain in place across the district on the poll day to ensure incident-free polling.

According to election officials, 90% of the polling booths in Kulgam district fall in the hyper-sensitive category while the remaining 10% have been declared sensitive. Over 3.45 lakh electors are expected to exercise their franchise in Kulgam district.

Pertinently, Anantnag district of Anantnag Lok Sabha constituency went to polls on April 23recording 13.6 per cent polling with “some stray incidents of stone pelting in the evening.”

In an unprecedented move, the Election Commission in March decided to hold elections to the restive Anantnag seat in three phases. The constituency is spread over the Anantnag, Kulgam, Shopian and Pulwama districts and is one of the three parliamentary constituencies in Kashmir.

The region has been witnessing frequent protests post the 2016 summer unrest triggered by the killing of Hizb-ul-Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani. Since then, hundreds of youth have disappeared from their homes to join the militancy.

In the past three years, over 580 militants have been killed in Kashmir and most of them, who did not even receive rudimentary arms training, belonged to the south Kashmir.

Regional Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) president and former Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti is contesting the Lok Sabha elections from Anantnag constituency. She is in a triangular contest with State Congress president G A Mir and National Conference candidate Justice (Retd) Hasnain Masoodi.

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