To review security, get feedback on situation
Srinagar, Mar 14: The three special observers appointed by the Election Commission of India arrived in Srinagar on Thursday to gauge the mood and to hold deliberations with the security officials in Kashmir and Jammu regions to prepare a final feedback report as to whether atmosphere was conducive for Assembly polls.
On March 10, the ECI had appointed former IAS officers Vinod Zutshi and Noor Muhammad, and former IPS officer A S Gill, as special observers to assess the situation in Jammu and Kashmir.
As per their mandate, the observers would make a real-time assessment of the situation by meeting political parties, district and state authorities and other stakeholders.
All three observers arrived in Srinagar where they would hold talks with the representatives of political parties—National Conference, Peoples Democratic Party, Congress and others. However, NC decided to stay away from meeting the delegation citing that the ECI should have announced holding of polls—Lok Sabha and Assembly polls together.
However, ECI announced only to hold Parliamentary polls and defer the Assembly polls citing security situation and non availability of forces personnel for the contesting candidates.
Reliable sources said that the observers will meet the top security brass and get the feedback on the present prevailing situation. “They will meet the officers from police, CRPF, and the army and also the intelligence officials,” sources said. The observers will also meeting common citizens to prepare a final report on the overall ground situation in J&K.
The observers after spending a day or so in Kashmir will fly to Jammu and hold talks with the various segments of society. The security top brass had in the previous meeting held with the ECI in Srinagar expressed concerns over the security scenario in south Kashmir with the result, ECI announced three-phased Lok Sabha polls for Anantnag seat, first time in the poll history of Jammu and Kashmir.
Hundred companies of additional forces including CRPF and BSF have already reached Srinagar for being deployed for the election duties. The observers, sources said will ask the police and other heads of forces about the plan to be adopted for ensuring smooth and fair conduct of Lok Sabha polls commencing from April 11.