Srinagar, September 03 (KMS): In occupied Kashmir, Indian authorities are going to deploy maximum number of additional troops in central, south and north Kashmir districts in the name of so-called panchayat elections, scheduled between November and December, this year.

The authorities are planning to elect about 4400 Sarpanchs and 29000 Panchs in the presence of 40,000 additional troops during these so-called elections.

About 16 Panchs and Sarpanchs were killed by unidentified gunmen since the last village bodies elections held in 2011. Government officials say, out of the total of 240 additional companies comprising 24,000 troopers of Indian forces like Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF), Border Security Force (BSF), Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB) and Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) to be deployed for the polls, 71 are marked for the central Kashmir districts of Srinagar, Budgam and Ganderbal.

According to a draft government plan for the conduct of the local bodies’ elections, Srinagar alone will see 28 additional paramilitary companies – 2800 troopers – deployed for the elections to not more than 50 seats, a majority of them within the Municipal limits.

South Kashmir districts of Pulwama, Shopian, Kulgam and Islamabad, 55 additional companies of the CRPF will be deployed, ostensibly because there is already a higher degree of deployment of Indian forces in the area.

Similarly, 55 additional companies of paramilitary troopers have been marked for deployment in the three northern Kashmir districts of Baramulla, Kupwara and Bandipora.

At least 203 additional forces’ companies, more than 20000 troopers, would be deployed across Kashmir valley, which are already stationed in the territory since the beginning of Amarnath pilgrimage. In addition, there will be 10,000 to 15000 policemen on poll duty. “So, more than 40,000 additional forces will protect the polling booths of Kashmir region,” a government official said. “This is in addition to the existing forces’ strength in Kashmir.”

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