Restrictions imposed on public gatherings for month in Shopian
SRINAGAR: The most challenging phase of the three-part election for the Anantnag parliament seat is coming up in Pulwama and Shopian districts, and the government is trying to make fool-proof security arrangements. An additional 300 companies of central armed forces along with the state police will be deployed for election in the two districts that go to polls on May 6.
A senior government official said that every measure and precaution was being taken to ensure that polling is conducted peacefully. He said that adequate deployment of government forces to secure booths and ensure area domination has been made.
The voting timings have been reduced by two hours in the election for Anantnag seat, from 7am to 4pm instead of 7am to 6pm.
More than 5.22 lakh electors are registered in the two districts that span over six assembly segments: Tral, Pampore, Pulwama, Rajpora, Wachi, and Shopian. The electorate includes 271,127 males, 250,735 females, 657 service electors (646 males and 11 females) and 11 transgenders.
An official spokesperson said that as many as 695 polling stations have been established in the two districts.
Giving break-up of the booths and voters, the official spokesperson said that Pulwama district has 351,314 electors, including 181,259 males, 169,508 females, 541 service electors (533 male and 8 female) and 6 transgender voters. Polling stations totalling 450 have been set up across the district that comprises four assembly segments of Tral, Pampore, Pulwama and Rajpora.
The Rajpora segment has the highest number of 95,633 electors including 49,808 males, 45,738 females and 87 male service voters while Pampore has the lowest: 82,188 electors including 41,929 males, 40,230 females, 24 male service voters and five transgender voters.
Tral assembly segment has 88,617 electors, among them 45,637 males, 42,650 females, 329 service voters (324 male and 5 female) and a single transgender voter.
Pulwama assembly segment has 84,876 electors, including 43,885 males, 40,890 females and 101 service voters (98 male and three female).
In Shopian district, 245 polling stations have been established for 171,216 electors including 89,868 males, 81,227 females, 116 service electors (113 male and 3 female) and five transgender voters.
Wachi assembly segment has 83,532 electors including 43,848 males, 39,614 females, 66 service voters (63 males and 3 females) and four transgender voters.
Shopian assembly segment has 87,684 electors including 46,020 males, 41,613 females, 50 male service voters, and a single transgender voter.
The main contest in the parliamentary constituency is between Hasnain Masoodi of National Conference, Mehbooba Mufti of Peoples Democratic Party, and GA Mir of Congress.
The previous two rounds of voting for the Anantnag Lok Sabha seat saw extremely low polling, about 14 percent in Anantnag district and a little over 10 percent in Kulgam district.
Meanwhile, District Magistrate Shopian on Thursday promulgated Section 144 CrPC in the district from Friday for a period of one month “in order to maintain peace and tranquillity in public life and to avoid danger to life and property”.
According to the order, no assembly or congregation shall be allowed without prior permission of District Magistrate Shopian and Duty Magistrates subject to prior NOC from the concerned SPs/SHOs of the respective jurisdiction.
Furthermore, no person other than a member of the armed forces/police/magistrate or a public servant duly authorised and on duty shall carry in public firearms or an article capable of being used as a weapon of offence.
The order said that no person shall use loudspeaker or any other sound-amplifying device for making a speech or any announcement for any other purpose, whether from a moving vehicles or otherwise except with the prior permission of District Magistrate Shopian.
However, the restriction imposed on movement of people/congregations/assembly of people shall not apply to holding of prayers in mosques and other places of worship or burial rites/ ceremonies.
In case of an area notified for application of restrictions under Sec. 144 CrP.C, the duty magistrates should be approached in order to prevent misconception about such occasions/ceremonies by law enforcement agencies.
The Senior Superintendent of Police Shopian shall enforce the restrictions by making adequate deployments, wherever required, the order read.