NEW DELHI: There is no security scare in Jammu & Kashmir in view of US President Donald Trump’s India visit with adequate deployment of forces on ground since abrogation of Article 370 of the Constitution in August last year, say senior officials of security agencies here.
The postponement of panchayat elections in the union territory was based on requests made by many of the candidates and also to give some of the mainstream parties, including the People’s Democratic Party and the National Conference, more time to participate in the local polls. Both the PDP and NC had boycotted the panchayat elections held in 2018 but had expressed their interest in participating this time. The two leading parties had, however, set preconditions for their participation with the release of their incarcerated leaders.
“It was a political decision taken by the Centre to postpone the panchayat elections and not because of the fear of any terror attack in the Valley on the eve of President Trump’s visit,” said a senior official from a security agency monitoring the situation. The official expressed confidence that adequate presence of forces in the Valley was enough to tackle any situation and prevent violence.
National Security Advisor Ajit Doval, who has been given a free hand by prime minister Narendra Modi in J&K on security issues before abrogation of Article 370, has ensured that no terrorist outfits or separatist groups managed to mobilise local support against the establishment or cause any major violent incident.
“For the first time there was complete synergy among paramilitary forces, Army and the local administration on maintaining law and order in the Valley and other parts of the UT,” the official said. All the agencies are functioning under the single command of the NSA and there has been utmost care and urgency in maintaining vigil in the troubled-torn UT, he added.
Former J&K CMs Farooq Abdullah, Omar Abdullah and Mehbooba Mufti continue to be in detention to avoid chances of their organising mass protests and situation going out of control, according to an assessment. The three former CMs along with some other senior leaders from their party were arrested under the Public Safety Act on February 6 to keep them in detention after six months. They were first detained and kept under house arrest after abrogation of Article 370 on August 5 last year.
Before their postponement, the election commission had announced holding of panchayat elections in the newly-created union territory in eight phases starting from March 5. The local polls were to be held for filling up of over 13,000 vacant posts of panchs and sarpanchs in J&K.
Thousands of wards in Kashmir remained unrepresented as no nominations were received due to threats from militants. Also since 2018, hundreds of elected representatives of panchayats resigned from their posts, some of them were even killed by militants, leading to mass vacancies. Anantnag, Baramulla, Budgam and Kupwara saw maximum number of elected representatives resigning.
The postponement of panchayat elections also followed a meeting of the chief electoral officer of J&K with representatives of all parties. The NC, PDP and Congress had demanded release of political prisoners before any electoral process is started.


Source link