Srinagar: Ahead of the Assembly polls slated to be held from next week, over 200 additional companies of paramilitary forces have arrived in Valley to ensure smooth conduct of elections during the first two phases in north and south Kashmir.
Out of 512 companies of paramilitary forces demanded by the state government, 202 companies from Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF), Border Security Force (BSF), Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP), and Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) arrived in the Valley in the past few days, officials told Kashmir Reader Tuesday.
The additional forces have been deployed in Bandipora and Ganderbal districts, where polling will be held on November 25. They will be deployed later in Anantnag and Baramulla districts that will go to polls on December 2. Apart from manning polling booth, the additional troops will provide security cover to the contesting candidates in view of militant threats.
“202 companies of paramilitaries have arrived in Valley. We have already made pre-poll deployment in the areas where voting will be held in the first phase. Security cover has been given to the contesting candidates, while mobile security guards have also been allotted on the basis of threat perception,” a senior official, insisting not to be named, told Kashmir Reader.
For the third and fourth phase polls that will be held on December 9 and 14, the official said 170 and 140 companies of paramilitaries will arrive in the Valley.
In Baramulla district, where 339 polling booths have been declared sensitive and 486 hypersensitive, 40 companies of paramilitary forces will be deployed for the conduct of polls.
Twenty companies will be deployed in Sopore, 60 in Budgam, 40 in Pulwama, and 10 in Awantipora.
“The deployments that have arrived in the Valley are from CRPF, BSF, ITBP and CISF. Contingents of Jammu and Kashmir Armed Police will also assist the forces during elections,” the official said.
When asked about lodging arrangements made for the additional troops, the official said it’s in the domain of the government.
“Providing accommodation to the forces arriving in the Valley is the responsibility of the state government. The arrangements for the paramilitaries that arrived for first and second phase polling have been made. And the 310 companies that will be arriving for the next two phases will be accommodated by the government in schools, colleges and other government buildings,” he said.
The official said that around 60 battalions of CRPF already deployed in the Valley will continue to perform their duties in anti-insurgency operations and the maintenance of law and order.
The state government had demanded over 500 companies of paramilitaries from New Delhi for the elections. The Election Commission of India had also asked the state government to take adequate security measures to ensure larger turnout in the five-phased elections.