ECI eases procedure for voting by displaced Kashmiri people | Latest News India - Hindustan Times

ECI eases procedure for voting by displaced Kashmiri people

Apr 12, 2024 10:14 PM IST

ECI said Kashmiri Migrant electors in various camps or zones at Jammu and Udhampur shall be mapped with the special polling stations falling in the zones they are registered or residing in

NEW DELHI: The Election Commission of India (ECI) announced on Friday that it has eased paperwork for people who shifted from Kashmir to Jammu and Udhampur in the nineties to cast their votes to facilitate their participation in the 2024 general elections.

**The Election Commission of India eased the procedure for displaced persons from the Kashmir valley to exercise their franchise in Jammu and Udhampur (PTI)
**The Election Commission of India eased the procedure for displaced persons from the Kashmir valley to exercise their franchise in Jammu and Udhampur (PTI)

After a meeting chaired by chief election commissioner (CEC) Rajiv Kumar along with election commissioners Gyanesh Kumar and Sukhbir Singh Sandhu, ECI said that Form M will not be required for displaced persons from Baramulla, Srinagar and Anantnag-Rajouri.

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Migrant voters, essentially from the displaced Kashmiri Pandit community, were previously required to fill the form to request the transfer of their vote from Kashmir to a polling station in Jammu, Udhampur or Delhi.

ECI also decided that self-attested certificates appended with Form-M will be acceptable from migrants living outside Jammu and Udhampur, eliminating the need for attestation by a gazetted officer.

According to a statement by the commission on Friday, this decision was taken after ECI received representations pointing to trouble with paperwork. “Various representations were received from several Kashmiri Migrant groups projecting the difficulties they face in filling of Form-M every election, which brings a lot of hassle to them in exercising their right to franchise,” the ECI statement said.

”The Form-M procedure subjects these voters to additional bureaucratic hurdles compared to other voters and also the process of filling out the Form-M is often complex and cumbersome, requiring specific documentation, proof of migration status and attestation by a gazetted officer,” it added.

Jammu & Kashmir’s chief electoral officer Pandurang K Pole also submitted comments to the commission supporting a request by political parties that Kashmiri migrants may vote in person at transitory camps and via postal ballot. ECI, after considering the recommendation, approved this measure as well.

The poll body has designated 22 special polling stations (21 in Jammu and 1 in Udhampur) for migrant voters in the two regions, ensuring that each zone has at least one Special Polling Station.

The electoral roll extracts for these stations will be derived from the basic electoral rolls of their respective assembly constituencies, an official explained. To prevent any overlap between postal ballot voters and those voting in person, the ARO Migrant Jammu -- which is what has been asked to ensure that electors who opt for postal ballots are marked accordingly in the corresponding electoral roll extracts.

While migrants outside Jammu and Udhampur will be able to self-attest Form M to prevent impersonation at Special Polling Stations, they will have to present their Electors Photo Identification Card or alternative identification. The scheme allows migrants to vote in person or via postal ballot, with forms available on the ECI website.

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