LS polls: J&K police issue security advisory to parties

Srinagar: Police personnel check vehicles during a search operation while on high alert on the eve of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's visit to the valley, in Srinagar, Saturday, Feb 2, 2019. (PTI Photo)

Fearing attacks by militants to disrupt election process, Jammu and Kashmir police have issued a security advisory asking politicians and contestants to avoid holding road-shows and go for public rallies only after proper security clearance.

 
The five-phase Lok Sabha polls are scheduled to start in Jammu and Kashmir from April 11.
 
“An advisory has been issued to all political parties and candidates to take certain precautions. It includes do’s and don’ts and clear-cut directions that they must inform the concerned deputy commissioners and senior superintendents of police before embarking on a road journey or choosing a place for a public convention,” a police officer, privy to the advisory, told DH.
 
“Public rallies will also be allowed at designated places only, that too after a proper security clearance,” he said.
 
The advisory has been issued in written form to all political parties, their heads—as well as the candidates—while the copies of the same have been sent to all district SSPs across Kashmir. According to the advisory, no roadshows will be allowed in any Lok Sabha constituency as it involves a greater security threat.
 
In four restive districts of south Kashmir – Anantnag, Pulwama, Shopian and Kulgam - the officer said, there are “many security concerns” and the political parties, their leaders and candidates have therefore been requested to ensure “rallies are held in safe locations only”.
 
“In south Kashmir, no comprise with the laid down security measures will be allowed. We have requested the heads of political parties to abide by the security advisory. Holding rallies is part of a democratic process and our job is to provide adequate security cover,” he said.
 
Of late, election activities have gained momentum in Kashmir with rallies being organised by National Conference, Peoples Democratic Party, Congress and some other parties.
 
Earlier this month, the Election Commission announced that assembly polls in Jammu & Kashmir, currently under President’s rule, will be held only after voting for the Lok Sabha is completed, due to security considerations. As the Lok Sabha elections require heavy security deployment across the country, making it difficult to spare additional forces for J&K. 
 
When by-polls to Srinagar LS seat were held in April 2017, it left a trail of nine deaths and a record low voter turnout of 7%, equalling the dismal voting trends during the peak militancy period.

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