Nearly 200 additional companies of CAPFs to man polling in Rajouri, Poonch districts

Numbers increased after Surankote terror attack

Troops on high alert in Pir Panjal Range, LoC

Sanjeev Pargal
JAMMU, May 21: Nearly 200 additional companies of paramilitary forces and Jammu and Kashmir Armed Police (JKAP) have either reached or are on way to Rajouri and Poonch which will go to polls along with South Kashmir in sixth phase of polling on May 25. Number of paramilitary forces’ deployment has been increased in the twin border districts following terror attack at Surankote that left an IAF Warrior martyred and five others injured.
Officials told the Excelsior that deployment of additional companies of Central Armed Police Forces (CAPFs) and Armed Police is almost equal in Rajouri and Poonch districts, Each district will get nearly 100 companies of paramilitary forces and Armed Police. The deployment is in addition to paramilitary forces and police available with the two districts.
“Some of the companies reached both the districts yesterday while others were expected to be in place by tonight as they were sent from parts of Baramulla Parliamentary constituency where polling concluded in fifth phase yesterday,” they said.

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Troops are already engaged in anti-militancy search operations in Pir Panjal forests besides guarding the Line of Control (LoC) effectively, Both Rajouri and Poonch districts share LoC with Pakistan and there have been apprehensions that Pakistan could try to infiltrate terrorists from the LoC to disturb elections. However, strict surveillance on the LoC by the Army has thwarted intrusion bids by the terrorists.
As per the officials, some more companies of paramilitary forces could also reach Rajouri and Poonch tomorrow or day after to take positions ahead of the elections.
Rajouri and Poonch districts have eight Assembly constituencies but one of the segments (Sunderbani-Kalakote) is part of Jammu Lok Sabha seat. Rest seven Assembly seats of the two districts fall in Anantnag-Poonch-Rajouri Parliamentary constituency.
The seat was scheduled to go to polls in third phase on May 7 but the polling was deferred to sixth phase on May 26 because of adverse weather conditions and closure of Mughal Road which connects the two districts with South Kashmir.
Two terror attacks took place at Shahdara Sharief in Rajouri and Surankote in Poonch few days back leading to death of a civilian (brother of an Army soldier) and an IAF Warrior besides injuries to five soldiers.
The Election Commission will use 5405 VVPATs (Voter Verified Paper Audit Trails), 6888 Ballot Units and 4996 Control Units in Anantnag-Rajouri seat. Significantly, out of 2338 Polling Stations in the constituency, 2216 are in rural areas which means majority of the segments fall in rural belt. It has only 222 Polling Stations in urban areas.
Eighteen each Polling Stations in the seat will be managed entirely by women and People with Disabilities (PwD) while webcasting will be done from 1775 stations.
There are 90 Model Polling Stations in Anantnag seat.
Out of total of 18,36,576 electorates in Anantnag-Rajouri segment, 9,33,647 are male, 9,02,902 are females and 27 are third genders.
There are 540 centurion voters in the seat and one overseas voter. As many as 86394 are first-time voters while 4,55,289 electorates are in the age group of 20-29. Voters with 85 years plus age are 14848 while PwD electorates are 17967. There are 12961 service voters in the constituency.
A total of 20 candidates are in fray for Anantnag-Poonch-Rajouri seat which comprised South Kashmir in the Valley and twin border districts of Rajouri and Poonch in Jammu division.
People’s Democratic Party (PDP) president and former Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti, former Minister Mian Altaf (National Conference), Zaffar Manhas (Jammu and Kashmir Apni Party) and Advocate Maqbool Parray (DPAP) are prominent among the candidates in the race.
This is the first Lok Sabha election in which Anantnag has been linked with Rajouri and Poonch and the constituency has been divided between Jammu and Kashmir divisions.