The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) data shared with Parliament today backed the apprehensions of the ministry that the atmosphere was not conducive for Srinagar by-polls.
Following the "abysmally low turnout" for Srinagar by-poll, it was revealed that the Election Commission had reportedly ignored the MHA's advice on postponing the election.
The Valley has been simmering since the beginning of the year, with a spike in the number of terror attacks and incidents of stone pelting against security forces during anti-terror operations.
HERE IS WHAT THE MINISTRY OF HOME AFFAIRS' DATA SHOWS:
- According to MHA, in the first three months, Jammu and Kashmir witnessed 25 encounters between security forces and terrorists, in which 33 terrorists were killed. Ten security personnel were martyred in anti-terror operations while 20 terror suspects were apprehended.
- The MHA figures show that instances of stone-pelting continue to be reported in the Valley. Following Hizb-ul-Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani's death, the Valley had recorded 837 incidents of stone-pelting. Six months later, the numbers came down to 17. However, by February and March, the instances of stone-pelting went up to 46 and 60 respectively.
- The Ministry of Home Affairs also informed Parliament that there were at least 43 attempts of infiltration during January-March, in which four terrorists were killed, while nine managed to infiltrate into India.
- Minister of State for Home Hansraj Gangaram Ahir said, "We informed the Election Commission that the youth are being misguided by anti-national and Pakistani elements, that there is stone-pelting happening across the Valley. Despite our inputs, Election Commission went ahead with by-polls."
- For the Srinagar by-poll, a mere 7.14 per cent of the 12.61 lakh electorate ventured out to vote. The election was married by violence and at least eight people were killed in clashes with security forces. As many as 200 civilians and 100 security personnel were injured during the election. The poll percentage was the lowest in three decades, drawing sharp reactions from political parties.
- The Ministry of Home Affairs and the Election Commission had since indulged in a blame-game. The Election Commission has now deferred Anantnag by-poll to May 25.