Unlike the elections held here previously, the security arrangements across the Baramulla constituency which went to polls in the first phase of LokSabha elections Thursday were unprecedented while the security management at polling stations was different. The reserve police force was put on a standby, yet no place was left out from the radar of security forces across three districts in the northern constituency—Baramulla, Kupwara and Bandipora.
There were no barricades, no frisking and checking on roads. However, an area from one polling station to another was fully covered under a security plan, leaving little chances of disruption in voting anywhere, an official said.
Apart from the state police, central paramilitary forces personnel—from CRPF, ITBP, SSB and BSF—and soldiers from different army units were also deployed to, what officials said, “provide a secure and safe environment to the voters”.
The security forces, they said, had kept a contingency plan ready in case of any eventuality during the polling.
Officials said a three-tier security arrangement had been put in place.
A polling booth was managed, from inside, jointly by more than 10 security forces personnel from the police and central armed forces.
“Then, there was pre-peripheral security of around 30 people at a particular polling booth. This was supplemented by joint mobile patrolling teams of various security agencies, covering areas from one polling station to another,” they said.
According to the security plan, “hypersensitive, sensitive and vulnerable polling stations were identified and the security deployment plan was made accordingly”.
Officials said the polling stations were segregated as per sectors and zones and top officials were accordingly deployed to oversee the situation.
“The communication between security officials was made only through wireless. No other medium of communication was used since the internet services in poll-bound areas were snapped early Thursday morning,” the officials said.
A senior security official said that soldiers deployed in poll-bound areas, particularly along the Line of Control, were on “high alert to foil any attacks and infiltration from across the border”.
“Since several polling stations in the constituency were located close to the LoC, the authorities had kept ready a contingency plan in consultation with the election commission, in case of any eventuality,” he said.