SRINAGAR: Jammu and Kashmir would need an additional 500 to 750 companies of paramilitary forces for the smooth conduct of the forthcoming Assembly elections. Election dates for the state are yet to be announced by the Election Commission.
“Top security officials of the state briefed the Chief Election Commissioner and two Commissioners, who visited Kashmir on Saturday, about the security preparedness for the elections. The Election Commission was briefed about the security requirements of the state for the smooth conduct of the elections in a phased manner,” sources said.
They also said the state would need an additional 500 to 750 companies of paramilitary forces during polls. The last Assembly elections held in the state in 2008 were conducted during winter season in seven phases and there is every likelihood that elections this time also may be held in a phased manner.
Sources said Director General of Police (DGP) J&K Police and security officials told the EC that if there are less phases in elections, then the security requirement would be higher as security personals have to be deployed in large areas of every Assembly constituency to ensure free and fair polls.
“In view of violence, especially incidents such as stone pelting during Parliamentary elections in the Valley earlier this year, security officials are mulling to take more stringent security measures and deploy police and paramilitary personnel, besides seeking services of the Army as and when required,” sources said.
“In winters, usually the militancy incidents come down, but during election dates terrorists may try to create trouble and spread fear to stop people from voting. In such a scenario, we would have to deploy additional forces in the sensitive and volatile pockets of the Valley to foil militants’ attempt to create any trouble,” sources said. “We would try to instill confidence among people so that they come to vote in large numbers,” said a senior police officer.
Ahead of its visit to Kashmir, the EC had written to the J&K Government asking it to take adequate security measures to ensure large turnout of voters in the Assembly elections.
The state officials were asked to strengthen the security and overcome the “laxity” observed during conduct of the Lok Sabha elections.
The Election Commission is yet to take a final call on timing of polls in the state. It has maintained that further consultations will be held in the national capital before announcing poll schedule.