Srinagar gets fortified
With just three polling booths out of nearly 1100 designated as normal, a three tier security blanket has been thrown around all polling stations in the prestigious Srinagar-Budgam parliamentary constituency to thwart any attempt by militants to disrupt polling on Monday.
Unprecedented security arrangements have been made for the twin districts of Srinagar and Budgam, which has an electorate of over 10 lakh, with additional 173 companies of BSF, CRPF, ITBP and Indian Reserve Police being deployed in the wake of militant threat, officials sources said on Sunday.
All the polling booths will have security personnel deployed in the premises to form the inner core of the security, followed by an outer ring that would sanitize the area around the polling stations. The outermost tier consisting of paramilitary troops would ensure free movement of voters from their houses to election booths, the sources said.
The sources said security forces, in coordination with intelligence agencies, were making every effort to instill confidence in the electorate to come out and vote.
The constituency is headed for a straight contest between National Conference President Omar Abdullah, who is looking to score a hattrick, ruling People's Democratic Party's Ghulam Nabi Lone and PDP rebel Nazir Ahmad Khan who is being considered to be a dark horse in the race.
The deployment of 173 companies of the forces would be in addition to the troops and police already engaged in anti-militancy operations in the two districts, Deputy Inspector General of Police for Srinagar and Budgam districts Mohammad Amin Shah said.
The constituency has been divided into 15 zones and 45 sectors to be headed by a zonal magistrate and a sector magistrate respectively, the sources said.
Security forces have taken vantage position to monitor any suspicious movement within the constituency in general and the city in particular. Security nakas have been erected at al entry and exit points of the city, the sources said.
In recent days militants have carried out five attacks in the city including three grenade blasts on Congress headquarters in Srinagar and targeted two campaign vehicles of NC, killing two persons and injuring 28 others.
Of the six Lok Sabha seats in the state, electorate of Baramulla and Jammu constituencies have already registered their choice in the first phase while south Kashmir Anantnag will go to polls in third phase on May 5 followed by Udhampur and Ladakh constituencies on May 10.