Ahead of the sixth phase of the District Development Council elections in Jammu and Kashmir, Pakistani troops Saturday carried out “intense” mortar shelling along the Line of Control in Poonch district’s Balakot.
Balakot is one of the 31 DDC constituencies going to polls on Sunday.
K K Sharma, the Election Commissioner for the Union Territory, said officials were monitoring the situation. “We always make alternative arrangements keeping in view the possibility of such situations. We can shift polling stations to safer places if shelling continues,” he said.
Army Public Relations Officer Lt Col Devender Anand said the “intense” mortar shelling and small arms fire by Pakistani soldiers began at around 6 pm. The Indian Army is retaliating, he added.
The Balakot region near Poonch town has often faced unprovoked mortar shelling and small arms fire by Pakistani troops. A Sarpanch was among six civilians killed in shelling there in August 2015.
Meanwhile, nearly 7.48 lakh voters will Sunday decide the fate of 245 candidates from 31 constituencies in the sixth phase of the DDC polls. Of them, 124 candidates are contesting the polls in 14 constituencies in Kashmir. The remaining 121 are in the fray from 17 constituencies in Jammu.
For smooth conduct of the polls, the State Election Commissioner said 2,071 polling stations have been set up across the Union Territory—1,208 are in Kashmir and 863 are in Jammu.
Of these, Kashmir has only 11 normal polling stations with 1,047 being classified as “hyper-sensitive” and 150 as “sensitive”, Sharma said. Jammu has 83 “hyper-sensitive” and 291 “sensitive” polling stations.
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