Heavy security for Srinagar parliamentary seat by-poll

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Srinagar, April 8 (IANS) Tight security arrangements are in place to ensure smooth voting in the Srinagar-Budgam Parliamentary constituency by-poll on Sunday as separatists have called for a poll boycott, officials said.

Heavy deployment of police and paramilitary Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) was made throughout Srinagar, Budgam and Ganderbal districts, where the 15 assembly segments comprising the constituency are located.

All polling staff and the security component for the polling stations in the constituency reached their places of duty on Saturday evening.

Authorities said adequate arrangements for food and lodging had been made for the polling staff who will spend the night at the polling stations.

Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) Shantmanu on Saturday visited several polling booths here and reviewed the final arrangements.

Calling on the officials on the ground to work with dedication to make the elections successful, free and fair the CEO, who was accompanied by other officials, interacted with the polling staff at the booths and enquired whether all the facilities have been provided.

Security officials gave details of the security provided to polling staff at the collection centre, along the route and at the designated polling booths.

The CEO directed all the officials to work in tandem so that people do not face any difficulty in exercising their franchise and polling staff do not face any problems in discharging their duties.

In the wake of the boycott call, all senior separatist leaders including Syed Ali Geelani, Mirwaiz Umer Farooq, Muhammad Yasin Malik, Shabir Ahmad Shah and Nayeem Khan have been detained to prevent them from disrupting the poll process.

Given security perceptions, all the polling stations in the constituency have been categorised as hyper sensitive and sensitive.

The bypoll sees Nazir Ahmad Khan of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party face former Chief Minister Farooq Abdullah, who is the joint candidate of his National Conference and the Congress.

Counting of votes takes place on April 15.

–IANS

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