High Alert as terror strikes thrice in Valley on poll eve; Udh likely to see high turnout

AVINAV VERMA. Updated: 4/18/2019 12:21:58 PM Top Stories

JAMMU: A high alert has been sounded in Valley after militants carried out three strikes injuring three security personnel on the eve of polling to Srinagar Parliamentary constituency. The tensions are already high in Udhampur-Doda constituency which will also witness polling on Thursday in the second phase of Lok Sabha elections, following the killing of a senior RSS leader and his PSO in Kishtwar earlier this month.

The state police chief Dilbag Singh has assured peaceful polling, stating that tight security arrangements have been made for Thursday when over 29 lakh voters will decide the fate of 24 candidates in the fray for two prestigious seats of the Parliament.

Barely hours before the polling booth open for these electors, militants carried out three terror strikes across Kashmir Valley, prompting the authorities to issue a high alert.

Two army personnel were injured when a vehicle they were travelling was fired upon by militants at Khudwani area of south Kashmir’s Kulgam late Wednesday evening.

Two officers of Army’s intelligence wing travelling in the private vehicle suffered injuries in the attack and were shifted to a military hospital for treatment where their condition is said to be stable.

The attack came hours after a Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) personnel was injured after militants lobbed a grenade on his camp in Nowdal area of Tral in south Kashmir’s Pulwama district.

Head constable Prashant suffered splinter injuries in hand after CRPF 180 battalion’s camp in Nowdal village of Tral was attacked, police said.

The injured trooper has been evacuated to hospital for treatment,” he said.

Around the same time, militants hurled a petrol bomb towards the residence of NC leader and former MLA Ali Mohd Dar in Doniwari area of Chadoora in central Kashmir’s Budgam district.

The bomb exploded inside the premises, however, and there was no damage or injury reported.

The motorcycle-borne militants fled from the spot after carrying out the attack

The security forces have launched search operations to nab the attackers at all the three places, police said.

Earlier in the day, a state Police cop was allegedly assaulted by a group of people at Anchar area of Soura in Srinagar.

An official said that Sgct Mohammad Rafiq Shah belt no.366 IRP 13bn deployed with National Conference worker Ghulam Rasool Sofi has been beaten by people while he visited Anchar Soura along with protectee.

He said that the injured cop has been brought to SKIMS Soura for treatment where his condition is said to be stable.

The crucial parliamentary constituencies, Udhampur and Srinagar, which has witnessed recent spurt in violence, will go for polling amid tight security arrangements today in the second phase of Lok Sabha elections.

The fresh spurt could spell more trouble on Thursday, even as Udhampur constituency has been tense since April 9 after the killing of RSS leader Chanderkant Sharma and his PSO in Kishtwar and night curfew is still imposed in the district.

“Keeping in view recent violence activities in the both constituencies, we have taken all the precautionary measures,” Director General of Police (DGP), Dilbag Singh told The News Now.

“We have increased the deployment both constituencies to thwart any untoward incident. We deployed over 80 companies for election duties. Even I am personally monitoring the situation,” he added.

Twelve candidates each are in the fray for both parliamentary constituencies.

As per data, 29,60,027 total voters including 15,43571 male and 14,16387 while 69 transgender, will exercise their franchise to decide the fate of 24 candidates including former Chief Minister Farooq Abdullah and Union Minister Jitendra Singh, contesting the Srinagar and Udhampur, Lok Sabha seats, respectively.

Moreover, election authorities have setup, 4,426 polling stations in both the constituencies.

The Srinagar constituency has a history of low polling ever since the breakout of terrorism in 1990. The lowest turnout of three decades, 7.14%, was recorded amidst heightened tension and violence in 2017 when the by-election for the Srinagar Lok Sabha seat was held and Farooq Abdullah won the seat after defeating close rival Nazir Khan of the People's Democratic Party (PDP) by 10,766 votes.

The downtown areas are considered a stronghold of the separatists and during the by-election the Srinagar district recorded 3.84%, Ganderbal district recorded 14.71%, and Budgam district recorded 8.82% voting.

The previous lowest turnout on the prestigious seat was 11.93% in 1999 when Omar Abdullah of NC defeated Mehbooba Mufti.

It was 26% polling in 2014 when, for the first time, Farooq Abdullah lost the Srinagar seat to the PDP with a margin of about 40,000 votes. Election at that time was also held amidst the poll boycott call of separatists.

The other 11 candidates in the fray for the consitunecy include Sheikh Khalid Jehangir of Bharatiya Janata Party, Aga Syed Mohsin of J&K Peoples Democratic Party, Abdul Rashid Ganie of J&K National Panthers Party, Dr Farooq Abdullah of Jammu and Kashmir National Conference, Showkat Hussain Khan of Janta Dal United, Abdul Khaliq Bhat of Shiv Sena, Irfan Raza Ansari of J&K People’’s Conference, Nazir Ahmad Lone of Rashtriya Jankranti Party, Nazir Ahmad Sofi of Manavadikar National Party, while Bilal Sultan, Sajjad Ahmad Dar, Abdul Rashid Banday are contesting as independent candidates.

The constituency is spread over 15 assembly segments comprising three districts of central Kashmir-Ganderbal, Srinagar and Budgam with 1,295,304 registered voters. In the 2017 by-elections, the electoral strength in the constituency was 1,261,395.

The authorities have set up 1,716 polling stations across the parliamentary constituency.

District Election Officer, Dr Shahid Iqbal Choudhary said that to ensure complete transparency and fairness in polling is the foremost effort of the authorities and for this elaborate arrangements have been put in place everywhere.

He added multilayered arrangements including flying squads, micro-observers and videographers besides zonal and sector magistrates have been deployed to ensure fair, free and transparent polling.

Prominent candidates for Udhampur constituency include Union minister Jitendra Singh who is seeking re-election on a BJP ticket, Dogra dynasty scion Vikramaditya Singh fighting as a Congress candidate, Dogra Swabhiman Sangathan founder Choudhary Lal Singh and National Panthers party chairman Harsh Dev Singh.

The constituency is spread over 17 assembly segments comprising six districts of Kishtwar, Doda, Ramban, Reasi, Udhampur and Kathua. The Udhampur parliamentary seat has 16, 85,779 electors. In the 2014 general election, the number of voters in the constituency was 14,69,072.

For the smooth conduct of election, the Election Commission of India has established 2,710 polling stations.

The last parliamentary election was won by Jitendra Singh of the BJP by defeating his nearest rival Ghulam Nabi Azad of the Congress. Singh secured 487,369 votes while Azad managed to bag 426,393 votes.
Updated On 4/18/2019 12:23:14 PM

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