As the campaigning for Lok Sabha elections has gained momentum in Kashmir, authorities have asked politicians to hold rallies and meeting only at places designated by the concerned district authorities for political activities in view of security concerns.
A reliable official source said the politicians intending to hold rallies, meeting in the valley have to seek a prior permission from the concerned district authorities—Senior Superintendent of Police and District Magistrates—and follow the security advisory while campaigning for the parliamentary polls.
He said in view of security concerns, security drills are being conducted to ensure smooth conduct of the political events in the Valley.
“Since militancy poses a security challenge, the politicians have to hold meeting/ functions only at designated place. They have been told to avoid road shows and unanimated movements,” said a top security official.
Lok Sabha polls would be held in Jammu and Kashmir in five phases from 11 April to 6 May.
The parties have started campaigning in Baramulla constituency, which would go to polls in the first phase. The campaigning is also going to pickup in Anantnag constituency in south Kashmir, the hot bed of militancy.
South Kashmir, the hot bed of militancy, had remained out of bounds for politicians for months after the killing of Hizb-ul-Mujhideen commander Burhan Wani on July 8, 2016.
The security official said the designated places for poll functions are notified by respective district magistrates, who have authority to provide permissions for rallies to political leaders.
“The designed places are properly sanitised and security deployment made accordingly for smooth conduct of the political functions,” he said.
The official said the situation is not conducive for political parties to hold road shows in the form of large convoys in the Valley.
He said security measures are being put in place to ensure smooth and peaceful conduct of the polls in Valley.
The official said security advisory is issued to politicians in the interest of their own safety.
“The politicians will not be allowed to go to a particular place if there is threat of any law and order problem or where encounter between militants and forces is taking place,” he said.
The situation in Valley remains on edge as at least 91 people, mostly militants and forces personnel, have been killed in Valley in first two months this year.
Last month, Kashmir recorded 72 killings including 40 personnel of paramilitary CRPF, who were killed after a local Fidayeen Adil Hassan rammed an explosive laden vehicle into a CRPF bus on Srinagar-Jammu highway at Lethpora in Pulwama on 14 February.
In 2018, at least 252 militants were killed while 38 civilians lost their lives in clashes with forces near gunfight sites.