400 Kashmir political activists lose security cover

Monday, February 14, 2011

JAMMU - The Jammu and Kashmir government has removed the security cover of around 400 activists of major parties following a review of their security needs against the backdrop of declining militancy and diminishing threats, an official said Monday.

The government decision late Sunday has affected almost all parties, including the ruling National Conference, its ally Congress, main opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

“It was discovered during the review of security needs of political party workers that they were no longer under any threat and the deployment of policemen with them as security guards was serving no purpose,” an official of the home department told IANS.

The state also needs more policemen for holding the upcoming panchayat elections.

“It’s not the threat of militants that makes us have security arrangements in place for the elections but the very fact that such polls are keenly contested and there are chances of clashes,” the official added.

There are over 4,000 panchayat constituencies and the government plans to hold the elections and complete the process by May-end.

Official sources said the security cover has been withdrawn after a “thorough review” of the security needs of political activists, some of whom were unsuccessful candidates during polls.

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