PDP wants indefinite postponement of Anantnag LS bypoll

Mehbooba chairs security meet amid protests
Report by: 
Agencies
Srinagar
25 Apr 2017

Ruling PDP has urged the Election Commission to defer indefinitely the bypoll to the Anantnag Lok Sabha constituency against the backdrop of the volatile situation prevailing there. PDP candidate for the bypoll Tassaduq Hussain, who is brother of Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti, made the plea during a video conference with Election Commission officials yesterday. "Hussain asked the Election Commission to defer the bypoll to Anantnag Lok Sabha seat indefinitely till the situation is conducive for the elections there," PDP general secretary Nizamuddin Bhat said today.The EC had organised the video conference with all the contesting candidates to ascertain their views about holding of elections to the constituency on May 25. The bypoll was earlier scheduled to be held on April 12 but was postponed following large scale violence during polling in Srinagar Lok Sabha constituency on April 9 that left nine people dead.
The bypoll to the Srinagar constituency saw the lowest turnout of 7.1 per cent. It was won by National Conference's Farooq Abdullah. Anantnag Lok Sabha seat had fallen vacant after Mehbooba became the Chief Minister last year following the death of her father Mufti Sayeed. Meanwhile, amid spiralling student protests in Kashmir, chief minister Mehbooba Mufti today discussed the security situation in the Valley with top brass of army, police and other agencies. The chief minister chaired the meeting of Unified Headquarters, the multi-agency security body, here, officials said. Top officials of administration, paramilitary and intelligence agencies also attended the meeting which came a day after Mehbooba met Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Rajnath Singh in Delhi and discussed the prevailing situation in the state with them. Kashmir is in the grip of increased violence since the April 9 by-poll for the Srinagar Lok Sabha constituency. The security forces are under intense pressure as they are faced with almost daily protests and stone-pelting, especially by students. The army and the CRPF have received some praise for showing restraint under provocation, but there has also been criticism, especially after a video showed a civilian tied to a jeep as a human shield to avoid attack on a convoy that drove through the streets. Mehbooba yesterday said that the prime minister appears amenable to holding dialogue with stake holders but a right atmosphere needs to be created as "talks cannot happen amid stone pelting and firing of bullets". Meanwhile,Union minister Venkaiah Naidu said the Centre would  extend all support for tackling the terrorist menace and development to the J&K government which should take all steps to counter terror and separatist activities. "I don't want to make any comments and complicate the situation. Jammu and Kashmir government has to take all the steps to effectively counter all the terrorist and separatist activities and also anti-national activities inspired by our neighbour," Naidu told reporters here. The minister was responding to a query over Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti meeting Prime Minister Narendra Modi today and whether the state government was doing enough to counter terrorism.(PTI)