Elaborate security arrangements in place in J-K’s Rajouri, Poonch ahead of polling

Jammu, May 23 (PTI) Multi-layer security has been put in place in the twin border districts of Rajouri and Poonch, particularly along the Line of Control (LoC), part of the Anantnag Lok Sabha constituency that goes to polls on May 25.

These measures include increased deployment of security personnel, area dominations in hill regions, additional checkpoints and round-the-clock monitoring in the region and at vital installations, officials said on Thursday.

Several additional companies of security personnel have been deployed, reinforcing a security setup managed by Army, police, Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) and Border Security Force (BSF), they said.

Troops have been put on alert along the LoC, and security and contingency plans have been put in place for all border polling stations.

Top civilian and security officials, including Director General of Police (DGP) R R Swain, General Officer Commanding of 16 Corps, Additional DGPs, and Divisional Commissioner Ramesh Kumar recently visited the twin border districts to review the security measures.

Polling in Anantnag was earlier scheduled for May 7 but was deferred to May 25 due to adverse weather conditions following requests from several parties, including BJP, Apni Party and Democratic Progressive Azad Party (DPAP).

The Anantnag-Rajouri constituency was reconfigured by the Delimitation Commission in 2022, excluding Pulwama and parts of Shopian, while incorporating most of Rajouri and Poonch districts.

Anantnag has witnessed four terror attacks in the past 30 days.

In 2023, Rajouri, Poonch and the neighbouring Reasi district witnessed a series of encounters, resulting in 54 deaths, including those of 19 security personnel and 28 terrorists.

On May 4 this year, an Indian Air Force (IAF) soldier was killed and five were injured in a terrorist attack in Poonch.

There are over 18.30 lakh eligible voters, including 8.99 lakh women and over 81,000 first-time voters, in the Anantnag constituency. They will decide the fate of 20 candidates in the fray.

Among the candidates are former chief minister and PDP President Mehbooba Mufti, National Conference’s Mian Altaf and Apni Party’s Zafar Iqbal Khan Manhas, who is being backed by the BJP. DPAP leader Mohamad Saleem Parray and 10 independents are also in the fray.

The Anantnag Lok Sabha seat comprises 18 assembly segments — seven in Anantnag district, four in Rajouri, three each in Kulgam and Poonch, and one in Shopian.

National Conference president Farooq Abdullah and vice president Omar Abdullah, Mehbooba Mufti and her daughter Ilitija Mufti, BJP national general secretary Tarun Chugh and Jammu and Kashmir BJP chief Ravinder Raina, DPAP chairman Ghulam Nabi Azad and Apni Party president Altaf Bukhari campaigned extensively in the constituency to garner support for their parties.

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