Initial security for LS polls in place; next round after MHA-ECI talks – The Economic Times

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Initial mobilisation of central security forces for the upcoming general elections has been completed. The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) and the Election Commission of India (ECI) are likely to hold the next round of discussions on the number of paramilitary companies that can be released for elections after considering the security duties, said officials.
A large number of paramilitary forces have been deployed in Jammu and Kashmir for counterterror operations while the ethnic clashes in Manipur have kept the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) and Border Security Force (BSF) busy since May 2023, they added.

ECI had earlier written to MHA for deployment of around 3,400 companies of paramilitary forces for election-related duties such as area dominance, confidence-building measures, guarding of EVMs, strong room centres and security of counting centres. EC has sought the highest number of 920 CAPF companies for West Bengal, followed by 635 for Jammu and Kashmir.

CRPF is also engaged in perimeter security duties at Ram Temple while the Central Industrial Security Forces, which primarily handles security at major airports, was reassigned duties for Parliament following the security breach in the Lok Sabha.

“In J&K, security forces deployed for counterterror operations and security duties will be utilised for poll duties as well,” said a senior government official. The Lok Sabha elections in J&K were last held in 2019 after which Article 370 was imposed and the state was bifurcated into two Union Territories in August 2019.
The Supreme Court had in December 2023 directed ECI to hold elections for the legislative assembly of J&K by September 30, 2024. SC, while upholding the scrapping of Article 370, said that steps should be taken to restore the statehood of J&K at the earliest.
Several parties from the erstwhile state have asked ECI that simultaneous polls be held in J&K along with general elections. As per the officials, the final decision will be taken after assessment of the security scenario as the border state has seen a significant drop in the number of terrorist incidents, attacks and stone pelting.

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