For the strategic Srinagar-Budgam parliamentary constituency, more concrete and comprehensive security arrangements have been put in place for the smooth conduct of polls even as separate teams have been formed to face militancy related challenges, top security officials said.
Srinagar Lok Sabha seat is all set to witness direct contest between National Conference Patriarch Dr Farooq Abdullah and PDP candidate Aga Mohsin while as Peoples Conference candidate Irfan Raza Ansari.
The change in the security plan as per the top security officials comes in force in the wake of a killing of Owais Mushtaq, a class 7 student of Handwara area of Pulwama on April 7 after he had sustained serious pellet injuries resulting in his death.
Inspector general of Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) Ravideep Singh Sahi said that this time, two-pronged strategy has been evolved to ensure peaceful and incident free polling. “At the polling stations falling in hypersensitive and sensitive category, proper security plan has been worked out so that voters come freely to exercise their right to vote,”.
A senior police official said that separate teams have been deployed on ground for facing the militancy threats and challenges. “Number of check points and mobile check posts have been jointly established by the police and the CRPF on all important road links to facilitate the movement of voters,” he said, wishing not to be named.
“There will also be a frequent patrolling of mobile vehicles of for security forces to keep any eye on suspects. Army will also remain on standby mode.”
Official figures suggest that 80 per cent of the polling booths in Srinagar, Budgam and Ganderbal fall in the hypersensitive category while remaining 20 percent have been declared as sensitive. “The polling staff and the machinery including electronic voting machines have reached the designated polling stations in all three districts,” said an official.
Another police officer said that for the sensitive areas including some pockets of downtown, extra deployment will be made at the polling stations and on the roads to deal with the possible street protests as “the intelligence inputs suggest.” The Joint Resistance Leadership (JRL) has asked people to boycott the polls and to observe a shutdown on April 18.