JEHANGIR ALI | 29 AUGUST, 2018
SRINAGAR: With Jammu and Kashmir government set to hold Panchayat and Local Bodies elections next month, the Hizb’s operational commander, Riyaz Naikoo, an A++ category militant, has threatened to target those participating in the polls with acid attacks.
“Those participating in the elections should get their burial shrouds along with election forms. We have got hydrochloric and sulphuric acid for those who are planning to contest these elections,” Naikoo is heard saying in a 12 minute audio clip that has gone viral on social media.
According to officials, over 20,000 personnel of central paramilitary forces including CRPF and BSF that were earlier deployed for Amarnath yatra will be posted in Kashmir Valley to ensure incident-free polls, the dates for which have not been announced so far.
“202 companies of central forces tasked with conducting the recently-concluded Amarnath pilgrimage in the state will now be deployed in Srinagar, Budgam, Ganderbal, Baramulla, Sopore, Kupwara, Bandipora, Shopian and Awantipora for pre-election duties,” a senior government official said.
Officials said the ‘unprecedented’ security measures have been taken in view of simmering anger and a spate of attacks on mainstream political leaders and their workers as well as the security forces which has sparked fears of more violence in the Valley in the run up to the polls.
Militants yesterday targeted the house of former finance minister of Jammu and Kashmir and senior National Conference leader Rahim Rather in central Kashmir’s Budgam. Rather was not present in his home at the time of the attack.
Tensions are also on the rise in Kashmir in view of the hearing of petitions challenging the Article 35-A of the Indian Constitution which grants special privileges to the state subjects of J&K. The case is coming up for hearing in the apex court on August 31.
The state’s newly appointed Governor Satya Pal Malik yesterday met the union home minister Rajnath Singh to discuss the arrangements made for the forthcoming election. According to reports, the meeting lasted for 30 minutes and the two “discussed about the prevailing law and order situation” in the state.
The Panchayat election to elect 4,130 sarpanchs and 29,719 panchs is expected to be held later next month. The election to the local bodies were last held in 2011 while the Panchayat elections have also been delayed by over four years.