SRINAGAR: Government forces have erected barricades around all the areas where voting for the first phase of municipal elections is to be held on Monday.
Whenever a biker or a vehicle arrives, groups of policemen or paramilitary troops frisk the vehicle and check identity documents. On Saturday night, between Karan Nagar and Jahangir Chowk, forces had put up four barricades. The same was witnessed on the Munawwarabad road stretch where three barricades were erected within a distance of 50 meters.
“More than a thousand two-wheelers have been seized in the past days,” a police official told Kashmir Reader.
Elections on Monday are for four wards of the Srinagar Municipal Corporation – 15, 16, 17 and 74 – and wards of Municipal Committees of Kupwara, Handwara, Bandipora, Budgam, Chadoora, Khansahib, Kulgam, Devsar, Achhabal, Kokernag, Qazigund, the Municipal Council of Baramulla, Municipal Committees of Leh and Kargil in Ladakh region, the entire Jammu Municipal Corporation, Municipal Council Poonch, and Municipal Committees of Bishnah, Arnia, RS Pura, Ghou Manhasan, Akhnoor, Jourian, Khour, Rajouri, Thanna Mandi, Nowshera, Sunderbani, Kalakote and Surankote in Jammu province.
Contestants in Kashmir Valley have already been taken to “secure places”. In Srinagar, a huge number of them have been accommodated in a hotel. This has been done after Hizbul Mujahideen commander Riyaz Naikoo issued a death threat to those who contest in these polls.
Out of 72 wards, only one is going for polls in Budgam district. In many wards there are no candidates and in some there is only a single one.
About 40,000 additional troops have been deployed in Kashmir for the polls. A “three-tier” security ring gas been placed around polling stations. The army has been told to carry out “area domination” exercises to deter militants from attacking candidates or voters.