Booths Near Indo-Pak Border May Be Shifted

1 November 2014
Deccan Herald


Srinagar: Authorities have decided to shift more than 600 polling stations to safer locations to ensure Pakistani firing does not affect elections in the border areas of Jammu and Kashmir. Official sources said the decision was taken to ensure that voting is uninterrupted even if there was shelling from Pakistan along the International Border (IB) in Kathua to Akhnoor and along the Line of Control (LoC) in the Poonch and Rajouri districts of the Jammu region. The Pakistani troops had opened heavy shelling on the IB and LoC in the first week of October in which nine civilians were killed and about 100 others were injured. 'To thwart Pakistani designs, the authorities have identified nearly 650 polling stations along the 198 km IB from Kathua to Akhnoor and LoC in Poonch and Rajouri districts in Jammu, Kupwara and other parts of Kashmir for which alternate arrangements were being made on a war footing. The alternate polling stations will be identified well before the polling dates,' sources said. Initially the authorities will name the polling stations on the borders which fall within firing range of Pakistan. The alternate stations will be used if Pakistan resorts to any mischief on or before polling days. A senior official told Deccan Herald that the Ministry of Home Affairs and Election Commission were keen to see that the people living in forward areas in the state voted without any fear. 'It was in this context and their directives that the administration has identified alternate polling stations. All arrangements were being made for the people living in border areas for emergency shifting of polling stations either on the day of voting or earlier, depending on the situation,' the official said.