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Presiding officer among two officials suspended in Kishtwar

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Jammu, Apr 18: Two officials including a presiding officer of a polling booth in Kishtwar district of Udhampur Lok Sabha constituency were suspended Thursday for “dereliction of duty” during the polling in the second phase of elections.

One of the candidates for the Udhampur Lok sabha seat, Firdous Ahmed Bhawani, too was issued a show cause notice by the nodal officer for the model code of conduct for his alleged involvement in violation of the code.

Kishtwar District Election Officer Angrez Singh Rana suspended Presiding Officer Agha Zahid Rehman of Charosou polling station for “failing” to perform the election duty “with due care and responsibility”.

Rana also suspended a physical education teacher, Karnail Singh of the Government High School in Pochaal for “violating” model code of conduct.

As per the Kishtwar DEO order suspending the poll officials, a photograph of a ballot unit of the booth along with the name of candidates was found uploaded on Bhawani’s Facebook account for which he was served the notice.

The photograph had also gone viral on various social media platforms.

Responding to the notice, Bhawani told poll officials that he had shared the ballot unit’s picture after he found it on some social media platform.

He, however, did not say which social media he picked it up from.

The Kishtwar DEO subsequently asked local National Informatics Centre officials to ascertain the polling booth from where the ballot unit’s picture had been leaked and got to know that it was that of a ballot unit of Charosou polling station under Inderwal Assembly segment.

The NIC also identified the polling party in charge of the ballot unit in the photograph, following which the polling station’s Presiding Officer Rehman was suspended.

In another incident, Physical education teacher Karnail Singh was suspended on a compliant that he had uploaded his picture with the BJP tagline on his Facebook profile and had been campaigning secretly for the BJP candidate.

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