LOK SABHA POLLS|Security plan finalised, say officials

Forces start area domination, night patrolling in ‘hypersensitive’ areas
LOK SABHA POLLS|Security plan finalised, say officials

A multi-layer security plan has been formulated to ensure smooth conduct of the upcoming general elections in Jammu and Kashmir, especially in "hypersensitive" areas across the state, officials said on Sunday.

The plan, according to a senior security official, includesarea domination, night patrolling and "strong cover" by the road openingparties of the central reserve police force (CRPF). 

The official, who wished not to be named, said in pollingstations declared hypersensitive, one layer of forces will "specifically bedeployed for any law and order challenges", while another layer would "dealwith the possible threats or attacks by militants".

The third layer would guard the polling stations, theofficial said. As per the draft security plan, 90 percent polling booths inSrinagar-Budgam and Anantnag-PulwamaLokSabha seats are "hypersensitive", whilethe remaining 10 percent fall in the "sensitive" category.

This, according to officials, is notwithstanding the factthat in the Srinagar LokSabha segment, the "situation is far better onmilitancy front than the southern Kashmir segment" that comprises four restivedistricts of Pulwama, Kulgam, Shopian and Anantnag. 

The Srinagar parliamentary seat includes Srinagar, Budgamand Ganderbal districts. The official said though there is no specific threatby the militants vis-à-vis LokSabha elections, the "forces won't lower theguard or take any chance".

"Layering of security will be on the lines of civic pollmodel. Senior officers of the police and paramilitary forces will remaindeployed to guide their personnel on ground and also monitor the situation," hesaid.

About mapping and location of polling booths falling in"hypersensitive" areas, the official said the office of chief electoral officerhas carried out the exercise keeping in view the "sensitivities, vulnerabilityand concerns of a particular area".

"The poll security plan too has been framed keeping in viewthese aspects," the official said.

Another security official, who also wished not to be named,said night patrolling and area domination have already been started in areasgoing to polls.

"This time we have strengthened the road opening parties(ROPs) to ensure that Pulwama-type suicide attacks are thwarted. Elaboratesecurity arrangements are in place and all the security agencies are working ina close synergy to foil any attempt by militants to disrupt the polls," hesaid.

While the northern Kashmir seat will go to polls in thefirst phase on April 11, the Srinagar seat will witness polling on April 18,followed by three-phase elections in the southern Kashmir seat.

An official said the army will "remain at the beck and call" of security agencies on ground during the polls and its "role will only be required if the situation turns ugly anywhere during the elections". 

"The police will be the primary agency responsible for creating a peaceful atmosphere for the polls, while the CRPF will be assisting it in guarding the polling booths and securing the areas through night patrolling and area domination drills," the official said. At least 100 companies of additional forces have reached Kashmir for the poll duties. These include 3500 men from the BSF who would be deployed for "static guard duties" for the first time in 14 years.  More forces are expected to arrive by April 5.

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