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Security beefed up as Kashmir gets ready for panchayat polls

Elections to urban local bodies are scheduled to take place in September-October. Phase-wise polling will take place between October and December.

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Ishfaq-ul-Hassan

Updated: Aug 29, 2018, 05:45 AM IST

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Security has been beefed up across Kashmir as the Valley gets ready to hold panchayat and urban body polls next month. In all, 203 companies of paramilitary forces arrived in the Valley to maintain peace and ensure free and fair polling.

With 132 companies deployed, the CRPF forms the largest contingent, while BSF, ITBP and SSB follow suit with 32, 25 and 13 companies respectively.

All CAPF companies posted for pre-poll duties were part of security cover for the Shri Amarnath Yatra, which ended on Sunday. Over 2.85 lakh pilgrims visited the yatra in the last two months.

"In view of the run-up to the forthcoming panchayat elections, the CAPF have been further deployed to the districts of Kashmir Zone for pre-election duties," read a communication from Jammu and Kashmir Police.

Elections to urban local bodies are scheduled to take place in September-October. Phase-wise polling will take place between October and December.

The panchayat polls are being held in Jammu and Kashmir after a two-year delay. The elections were last held in 2011 after a 33-year hiatus. In that election, more than 80 percent of people had defied militants and cast their votes. More than 33,000 panchayat representatives were elected in the 2011 polls.

There are 47 municipal councils/committees in Kashmir division and 37 in Jammu division. The Municipal Corporation of Srinagar has 73 wards, while the Municipal Corporation of Jammu consists of 71 wards. There are three municipal councils each in Kashmir and Jammu divisions.

"Troops deployed for yatra duties have been retained for panchayat and urban body elections. We have earmarked the places where these troops will be deployed," said Ravideep Sahi, inspector general of CRPF, Srinagar Sector.

These forces will be in addition to the troops already deployed in the Valley, in addition to additional inductions from outside the state that have also been rushed to the Valley for election-related duties.

"At the end of the day, this is empowering people at the grassroots level. It will be people at the village level who will be in power to develop their villages and areas," he said.

ON HIGH ALERT

  • 132 companies of the CRPF have been deployed, while BSF, ITBP and SSB follow suit with 32, 25 and 13 companies respectively
  • There are 47 municipal  councils/committees in the Kashmir division of the state, and 37 in Jammu division
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