‘Emergency booths to come up in case of Pakistani firing’

November 12th, 2008 - 4:24 pm ICT by IANS  

Jammu, Nov 12 (IANS) Emergency polling booths would be set up for about 30 polling stations in two assembly segments of Jammu and Kashmir, which are close to the Line of Control, “if there is any incident of firing from across” the border, an official said Wednesday.Deputy Commissioner of Poonch district Mohammad Afzal Bhat said there were about 30 polling stations in Mendhar and Poonch-Havelli constituencies that “are close to LoC and hence within the firing range”.

He said the government had chalked out a plan for “emergency polling stations instead of these if there is any incident of firing from across (the border)”.

The three constituencies of Poonch district are going to polls in the first phase Nov 17 in which about 260,000 voters are expected to exercise their franchise at 353 polling stations.

Para-military and police personnel were being deployed for the security of the polling stations.

Officials have identified about 31 polling stations near the LoC and made emergency arrangements in case of firing from across the border.

“Though there is ceasefire on the LoC but we have made a provision for emergency polling station not leaving anything to chance,” said Bhat.

Despite a truce between India and Pakistan since November 2003, Defence Minister A.K. Antony has said: “There have been over 30 ceasefire violations from Pakistan side this year only.”

“Though we would rate the striking power of militants at the minimum now, but still there is no room for complacency in our vigil and guard,” said an army officer.

He said that troops were on highest alert for any “misadventure at the LoC or hinterland”.

The official said: “Militants will be in desperation to strike during this election time including intimidation of government staff or voters, bids on contesting candidates or other attempts to terrorise. We are alive to all this and the situation is well under guard and check.”

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