Union Home Secretary Rajiv Mehrishi on Wednesday met Election Commission officials to discuss measures to ensure a violence-free by-election in Anantnag on May 25. The Centre is of the view that any further postponement of bypolls will be seen as victory for separatist and pro-Pakistan elements. Concerns were raised by security forces over bypoll date earlier.
Chief Election Commissioner Nasim Zaidi and his two Election Commissioners during their discussion with Mehrishi were assured of adequate paramilitary forces for the bypoll, said an official. The assurance from the Union Home Secretary also assumes significance as there were voices within the Mehbooba Mufti- led coalition government in Jammu and Kashmir for postponing the bypoll, citing law-and-order situation in the Valley. There were large-scale violence during the bypoll to the Srinagar Lok Sabha seat on April 9 in which eight people died.
The home ministry informed the EC that there has been a spurt in number of stone pelting incidents. In January, the number of the incidents had come down 17 per day but after April 9 bypolls, they have shot up to 60 per day and in last 10 days, the valley recorded nearly 700 incidents of stone pelting, officials said.
Mehrishi conveyed to the Election Commissioners that all required forces will be provided but it would be convenient if the EC provides details of security forces required in advance.