Election Commission of India (ECI) has revised the poll timings for Anantnag Parliamentary constituency by two hours. The timings were rescheduled after Jammu and Kashmir Police requested the ECI to close the polling by 4 pm to avoid law and order problems.
Citing that “troublemakers” take advantage of darkness due to polls stretching till evening the J&K police wrote to the ECI to prepone the closure time.
The ECI issued a notification on Friday evening stating: “The polling time in all the polling stations, for the Anantnag parliamentary constituency has been fixed from 7am to 4 pm instead of 7am to 6 pm.”
“The Commission has amended the timings after considering the reports of the state government, district administration and Police and taking into account all material circumstances including law and order situation,” the notification stated.
Polls in Anantnag Parliamentary constituency would be held in three phases with district Anantnag going to polls on 23 April, Kulgam on 29 April and Shopian and Pulwama districts on 6 May, 2019.
A senior police official said that stretching polling till 6 pm was “turning out to be a headache” for security agencies in Kashmir. “Miscreants used take advantage of darkness and create law and order problems in the evening. They used to pelt stones on polling parties and security forces returning from poll duties,” he said.
A senior official in the civil administration said, “Hardly anybody turns up to vote after 4 pm in Kashmir. The early closure of polling would also avoid confrontation between security forces and civilians in volatile areas. A 13-year old boy was killed during the first phase of Lok Sabha polls in Langate area of Kupwara after clashes broke out in the evening between youth and security forces retreating from the poll duty,” he said.