Panicky Parties Seek Extra Security Cover

27 April 2014
Rising Kashmir
Manzoor-ul-Hassan

Srinagar: In the wake of recent attacks on political workers in South Kashmir, the political parties have approached Election Commission of India to ensure foolproof protection to their candidates contesting the ongoing Lok Sabha polls from the valley. According to officials of ECI in Kashmir, almost every political party had approached them seeking extra security arrangements for their candidates, senior members and some workers following attacks on political workers and Panchayat representatives. 'In last few days we have received more than 20 written applications and calls from political party leaders asking us to ensure foolproof security for their candidates and members. We received most of these calls after the attack on a Panchayat representative from Shopian district,' an ECI official deployed specially for Lok Sabha elections in Kashmir told Rising Kashmir on anonymity. 'Some candidates and party workers approached us personally also expressing apprehension about their safety. We took immediate cognizance of their application and asked security officials to ensure necessary security measures,' he said. The official, however, declined to give details about the parties and candidates which had approached ECI. Sanjay Srivastava, ECI's Security Observer for Srinagar, confirmed that political parties had approached him for security arrangements of its candidates. He also refused to divulge details about the party candidates and their apprehensions about the security. 'They have been approaching me from the day one of my joining. However, after recent attacks they are more concerned about themselves and their workers. I have forwarded their request to police and security agencies. I am sure they are taking necessary arrangements as far as personal security of any member of the party is concerned,' he said. Srivastava said the Srinagar constituency, which is going for polls on April 30, had remained sensitive as far as threat perception is concerned. 'I can't rule out attack or violent incident in Srinagar ahead of polls. But every one of us is doing our job sincerely which gives us satisfaction,' he said.