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Pol parties raise security concerns ahead of local polls in JK

Press Trust of India  |  Srinagar 

Flagging concern about security during elections next month in Jammu and Kashmir, political parties have said the atmosphere is "worrisome" and "not conducive" for holding the polls at the moment.

The state had recently announced that the polls would be conducted from February 15 and preparations for elections have been set in motion.

However, aspiring contestants and political parties including (NC), Pradesh Committee (JKPCC) are wary of the announcement, citing the and order situation in the state, especially in valley.

The apprehensions about a smooth conduct of the elections have been accentuated by the separatists' call for boycott of the polls and the threats issued by militant organisation Mujahideen (HM).

Earlier this month, an audio clip of a purported conversation between two HM militants went viral on social media, in which a of the outfit asked the cadres to pour acid into the eyes of those who stand for the upcoming elections.

in the audio clip told another militant of the outfit, Sameer Tiger, that they should not threaten or kill anyone standing for elections but instead pour "strong acid -- Sulphuric acid or Hydrochloric acid" into the eyes of these candidates.

Shafiq Mir, a former panchayat member and of All Panchayat Conference (AJKPC), told that though he wants the elections to be conducted, "the reports of security situation are worrisome".

"Our role is to contest elections and we are ready for that, but the has to see the security situation. The has to see how it will create a secure atmosphere for people," Shafiq said.

Asked about the threats and poll boycott call by the separatists, the said panchayats have nothing to do with any kind of of and should not be linked to the Kashmir issue.

"Our institution is not a political one but a community institution. We want to tell those who are issuing threats that we have nothing to do with any kind of of Jammu and Kashmir," he said.

"We are not associated with any We are just going to be elected as a local governing body an executive body for local issues, local development," Shafiq said.

He said 16 panchayat members were killed and 20 others injured in recent years since elections were held last in 2011.

The state's main opposition party said the and order situation in the state was "very worrisome" and "disconcerting", and conducting the polls "should not be one more blunder" which in turn could affect tourism, industry and the state's economy this year.

"Our point is simple, that the obtaining and order situation in the state is very worrisome, it is disconcerting and unless they (the government) address that first, unless they address the threats issued to the probable panchayat candidates first, till then no other statement or rhetoric will make sense," state spokesperson, Junaid Azim Mattu, told

of JKPCC, G A Mir, said the announcement of the panchayat polls was only an image-building exercise and the ground situation was not conducive for conducting an election in Jammu and Kashmir this time.

A senior police said the security agencies were fully aware of the threat issued by the militants and a strategy will be formulated to counter that.

"We will discuss it and formulate a strategy to counter the threat," the said.

He said that a high-level meeting, to be chaired by the chief minister, would discuss the issue after January 26 in the state's winter capital Jammu.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Sun, January 14 2018. 15:15 IST