Polls will be peaceful, successful: DGP

Dilbag Singh

Singh met with deputy inspector generals (DIGs), district superintendents of police and the officers from police headquarters to review the arrangements for ULB and Panchayat polls.

While most of the political parties of Jammu and Kashmir are likely to give local bodies and panchayat polls a miss, the police and paramilitary forces nonetheless will make sure that the process went off “successfully and peacefully.”

Speaking after a high-level security meeting on Wednesday in Srinagar, head of the JK police Dilbagh Singh said. “I am sure elections will pass on successfully and peacefully. I wish my officers on the ground all the very best. Given the past experience of JK police, they have sailed through difficult times and I am sure that the major event (polls) will be successful.”

Singh met with deputy inspector generals (DIGs), district superintendents of police and the officers from police headquarters to review the arrangements for ULB and Panchayat polls. A police spokesman said that the DGP in his address, directed the district police chiefs and DIGs that deployment plans should be worked out and fine-tuned in such a way that fool proof security remains in place.

“The DGP stressed whatever support in shape of logistic and manpower is required will be pooled and placed at the disposal for the smooth conduct of polls,” the spokesman said. “The DGP said stern action should be taken against the elements that foment trouble and at the same time contingency plans should be ready to tackle any eventuality. He directed the officers to take due care in all the situations so that things do not precipitate in any law and order situation.”

In J&K, ULB polls will begin from October 1 and eight phased panchayat polls from November 8. The major political parties National Conference and PDP have decided to stay away from the polls and the Congress has announced situation wasn’t conducive for polls. The State chief secretary has however, stated that polls will be held as per the schedule. 

The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has already retained 203 companies of CRPF, ITB, BSF and Sahastra Seema Bal, who were earlier deployed for the Amarnath Yatra. A source said that a fresh request has been sent to the MHA for more forces for the panchayat polls as existing troops will be deployed for ULB polls.

Inspector General of CRPF Ravideep Sahi said that there are many challenges in the upcoming ULB and Panchayat polls but forces will face all situations effectively. “I believe there may be a need for more forces for Panchayat polls given the sensitivity of the southern areas. Militant threat is there and we will face that,” he said. The IG CRPF said that they are not bothered about who would boycott but “yes, forces are for ensuring an atmosphere where voters come out and vote without any fear.”

He said there was no question of lowering the guard and in fact, more forces deployment was on cards once the notification for the polls will be issued.A source in the police said that the highest number of militants over the past ten years and the restive southern districts pose a threat to panchayat polls. “For panchayat polls, additional forces to be sought would be specifically deployed in southern parts of Kashmir,” the source said.

The Hizbul Mujahideen commander Reyaz Naikoo has already warned of carrying out acid attack on those who join the election fray and those who cast votes. The Joint Resistance Leadership (JRL) comprising Syed Ali Geelani, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and Muhammad Yasin Malik has also called for election boycott stating that such moves were aimed at diluting the basic nature of Kashmir issue.