Elaborate security arrangements have been made to ensure smooth and peaceful conduct of polling in the second phase for Jammu and Kashmir’s Anantnag Lok Sabha seat on Monday.

There has been a heavy deployment of Central Armed Police Forces (CAPF) and local police amidst the separatists’ call for the boycott of the elections and also the looming threat of terror attacks by Pakistan backed terrorists.

Voting would be held across four Assembly segments of Kulgam district viz. Noorabad, Kulgam, Homshalibugh and Devsar at 433 polling stations for which a total of 3, 45,486 electors are eligible to vote with Kulgam accounting for the highest number of voters; 98, 298.

Multiple layers of security have been put up by the authorities as they have made elaborate arrangements to thwart any attempt by terrorists to disrupt the polling process.

Security forces were moved out early on Saturday to take over the polling stations across Kulgam district that has witnessed bloody gunfights between the security forces and militants during the last three years.

Security forces have also been deployed on roads and hillside areas in addition to securing polling stations and adjoining areas.

“The shifting of EVMs to places designated for their safe deposit and ensuring safety to the poll staff after they discharge their duties during the day is another major challenge the security forces face in this constituency,” said poll officials.

Incidents of stone pelting at vehicles carrying the poll staff and the security forces back to the district headquarters after the completion of voting were witnessed during the first phase on April 23 in this constituency.

A policeman was killed and over 15 others, including poll staff and security forces, were injured when miscreants attacked two vehicles in Kokernag area of Anantnag district on April 23 in the evening.

Poll authorities have curtailed the voting hours in Anantnag constituency by two hours to ensure that the poll staff and security forces return to designated places before darkness. Voting hours have been scheduled from 7 am to 4 pm instead of 6 pm.

(With agency inputs)