500 Stone-pelters taken Police Custody Ahead of Srinagar Elections

Srinagar, 30 April-2014,Fayaz Wani(NIE): The security apparatus for Wednesday’s polling in Jammu and Kashmir’s Srinagar-Budgam Parliamentary constituency has been strengthened with over 500 ‘stone-pelters’ detained to ensure free and peaceful conduct of the elections.

500 Stone-pelters taken Police Custody Ahead of Srinagar Elections

Hazratbal Shrine built in around 1700 A.D.
Hazratbal Shrine built in around 1700 A.D. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Police have also placed separatist leaders Syed Ali Geelani and Mirwaiz Umar Farooq under house arrest. Besides, Shabbir Shah, Mohammad Yasin Malik, Nayeem Khan, Ayaz Akbar and some other separatists and activists have been detained and lodged in different police stations.

“As many as 241 companies of paramilitary forces will be deployed in the Srinagar-Budgam Parliamentary constituency comprising three districts — Srinagar, Budgam and Ganderbal– to ensure incident-free and peaceful conduct of the Lok Sabha polls tomorrow,” CRPF spokesperson Kishore Prasad said.

He said the companies were in addition to the already present CRPF companies in the Valley.

“After violence and stone-pelting incidents in the South Kashmir constituency, we have taken more security measures to ensure peaceful conduct of the polls,” he said. Prasad said the areas were being watched and mobile bunkers were placed at vulnerable and sensitive pockets.

“Besides, road opening parties will patrol the areas and security men will provide round-the- clock security to polling booths and staff,” he added. He said more police and paramilitary men would be deployed in stone-pelting-prone areas.

Authorities have set up 1,546 polling booths at 968 locations in the high-profile constituency from where 14 candidates are in the fray. Of these polling booths, 1,021 have been declared as hyper sensitive and 470 as sensitive.

However, the main contest is between National Conference president and Union minister Farooq Abdullah and the Opposition PDP’s Tariq Hamid Karra. AAP candidate Dr Muzaffar Bhat is also contesting the polls. The constituency comprises 15 assembly segments and 12 of them are being held by the NC, two by the PDP and one by an independent. “The stone pelters have been detained to restore confidence among the voters and encourage them to cast their votes with fear,” a police officer said.

“Police have arrested around 400 stone pelters and trouble-mongers in central Kashmir. Besides, over 60 stone pelters have been taken into preventive custody in North Kashmir,” he said.

“The arrests have been made and will continue to be effected to instil confidence among the voters so that no one attempts to intimidate the people by resorting to violence against those who want to exercise their franchise,” he said.

Separatist groups and militant outfits have called for a poll boycott and the voter turnout is expected to be low as was the case with the South Kashmir parliamentary seat, which went to the polls on April 24 and recorded 28 percent polling.

Hizbul Mujahideen posters asking for a poll boycott had also appeared in parts of Srinagar. In 2009 polls, the NC’s Farooq Abdullah defeated the PDP’s Iftikhar Hussain Ansari.  Input Source: NIE