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Frisking and Security Beefed up in the Kashmir Valley Ahead of Urban Local Bodies Elections

Ahead of Urban Local Bodies (ULB) polls in the State, government forces intensified frisking in the city to check movement of militants and prevent them from carrying out any attacks. Witnesses said the government forces started frisking at various locations in Srinagar as ULB polls are drawing near. They said police and paramilitary CRPF personnel were seen checking vehicles at many locations in the city.

The forces have also established mobile checkpoints and laid Nakkahs wherever required based on information received, sources said. “The security checking has been intensified. The additional forces have been deployed. Area domination, surveillance and checking have been strengthened,” said an officer in the security establishment.

Sources said over 600 companies of paramilitary forces will be deployed for the poll security in Kashmir.  Of the 213 companies brought for Amarnath yatra duty was retained by the government while 400 more additional companies were called by the government recently. Most of the additional paramilitary companies have already arrived in the Valley and some will be arriving in a day or two. They said security was also heightened around the residences or premises of ULB contestants especially those belonging to BJP and also those elected unopposed particularly in Srinagar and south Kashmir districts.

According to sources, the poll contests have been put in various accommodations like hotels, government quarters, and residential colonies. These accommodations have been put under tight security in view of militant threats even as reports said some 215 poll contestants would have no opposition. “Wherever security is required, it has been given,” an officer said. He said the hotels in Srinagar where political activists are stationed have also been given adequate security.

Earlier, the government said 300 hotel rooms in Srinagar were kept for candidates and similar arrangements were made in south Kashmir and north Kashmir district headquarters. Sources said several security review meetings had been held so far police in all districts to ensure full-proof security to polling booths. They said the contingent of forces will be deployed at polling booths as per the sensitivity of the area keeping in view different dimensions including law and order and militant presence.

The ULB polls will be held in four phases on 8, 10, 13, and 16 October while Panchayat polls would be held in eight phases on 17, 20, 24, 27 and 29 November and 1, 4, 8 and 11 December. According to official figures, 16,97,291 electors are eligible to vote in 1145 municipal wards across the State.

Meanwhile, south Kashmir is seen as volatile region given the presence of local militants and sentiments attached to them while north Kashmir is seen as moderately calm area given the pattern of low-level law and order problems and militant activities.

According to sources, in view of sensitivity, more focus was being given to south Kashmir districts where militancy and clashes between youths and government forces remain a major concern. “Adequate security arrangements are also being taken in the north and central Kashmir area,” they said.

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