As Baramulla goes to polls tomorrow, police vow to ensure incident-free polling

With the northern Baramulla parliamentary constituency going to polls in the first phase of Lok Sabha elections on April 11, the Jammu and Kashmir police Tuesday said that “elaborate and comprehensive” security arrangements are in place for smooth conduct of the electoral exercise.

Kashmir range inspector general of police, Swayam Prakash Pani, who visited the northern constituency comprising Baramulla, Kupwara and Bandipora districts to “gauge the poll mood on ground”, said: “Elaborate security arrangements have been put in place to ensure smooth and incident-free polling”.

Talking to Greater Kashmir, the IGP said he has been in constant touch with the ground staff of the police force in all district headquarters in northern Kashmir over the past one week to “ensure all arrangements are put in place for the polls and loopholes, if any, are plugged well in time”.

A security official, wishing not to be named, said that while framing the “security strategy” for the ensuing elections in Kashmir, “we have categorised areas as vulnerable, critical and those with high security concerns. Keeping this in view, a foolproof security cover is in place for the hassle-free polling”.

As per the assessment done by the state’s election department, 70 per-cent polling stations in the northern parliamentary constituency fall in “hypersensitive” category while the remaining 30 per-cent have been declared “sensitive”.

There are nine candidates in the electoral fray for the constituency having over 13 lakh electors and 15 assembly segments.

The election authorities have established 1749 polling stations at 1387 locations in three districts—Baramulla, Kupwara and Bandipora. The LS seat is set to witness a triangular contest between Muhammad Akbar Lone of National Conference, Raja Aijaz Ali of Peoples Conference and Abdul Qayoom Wani of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

The security forces have intensified night patrolling and area domination across the northern segment, while the personnel from the CRPF and the police who have been tasked with guard the polling stations have reached their respective destinations, officials said.

“Though night patrolling and area domination drills were on for quite some time now, these drills has been intensified to create a sense of security among the people so that they come out and vote without any fear on Thursday,” a senior CRPF officer said, wishing not to be quoted by name.

A source said that poll material including electronic voting machines (EVMs) have reached the polling stations while the polling staff will reach there by Wednesday evening.