Ready to ensure safe environment for J&K Assembly polls: Army

Army on Wednesday said it was ready to ensure a safe environment for conduct of assembly elections in Jammu and Kashmir whenever the Election Commission of India fixes the dates for the exercise due before the end of this year.

PTI| Last Updated: Oct 15, 2014, 22:00 PM IST

Srinagar: Army on Wednesday said it was ready to ensure a safe environment for conduct of assembly elections in Jammu and Kashmir whenever the Election Commission of India fixes the dates for the exercise due before the end of this year.

"From the security point of view, we are ready to ensure a safe and peaceful environment for the conduct of the elections in Kashmir," General Officer Commanding of the Army's 15 Corps Lt General Subrata Saha told PTI.

Asked if the time was right to hold elections in the flood-ravaged state, Lt Gen Saha said that is a call for the Election Commission of India to take.

In response to a question, he said there was no significant increase in the infiltration from across the Line of Control in the Valley during the period of floods last month.

"The figures for infiltration attempts are at par with those for the month of August," he said.

Lt Gen Saha said the army, however, is ready to take on any challenge on the infiltration front.

"The anti-infiltration grid has been active even when the Army was busy in carrying out the massive rescue and relief operations in the flood affected areas of Kashmir. We had a number of successes at the Line of Control even during the month of September," he said.

The army officer said there will be no lowering of the guard along the LoC in view of the recent snowfall in the higher reaches of the Valley.

"The snowfall late last month was just eight to 10 inches high. From experience, we know that this snow melts away and will not close the passes across the LoC," he added.

Assembly elections in Jammu and Kashmir are due to be

held by the end of this year as the term of the current Legislature ends on January 4 next year.

Deputy Election Commissioner Vinod Zutshi, during a three-day visit last week, interacted with representatives of political parties, civil administration and police officials in the state to prepare a report for the Election Commission for deciding on the timing of assembly elections.

However, the Election Commission has decided that a full commission will visit the state later this week to assess the feasibility of holding elections before the term of the current assembly expires.

While ruling National Conference has sought delaying the elections so that focus is on relief and rehabilitation of flood victims, other parties including ruling coalition partner Congress and opposition Peoples Democratic Party have called for holding the polls in time.