Today: Jun 19, 2024

Pooch: Polling party treks for a day to deposit EVMs from remote village that was once terrorist infested

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Rajouri (J-K):  After trekking for a day, a polling party reached here Sunday evening to deposit electronic voting machines at a designated strongroom, having successfully conducted polling in Hill Kaka – a village in Poonch that was infested with foreign terrorists over two decades ago.

Poonch is part of Anantnag-Rajouri Lok Sabha constituency which went to polls on Saturday, completing the voting exercise in all five seats in Jammu and Kashmir.

Hill Kaka, which has 377 eligible voters, is the one of remotest villages in the Pir Panjal region and has a polling station that falls under the ‘P2 category’ where an election team has to be dispatched one day in advance and returns a day after the conclusion of polling.

Located in the rough mountain ridges of the Surankote subdivision, the Hill Kaka village came into the limelight in April-May 2003 when security forces eliminated 64 terrorists under Operation ‘Sarp Vinash’ to free the area of terrorism.

On Thursday, a team of poll officials led by a presiding officer left for Hill Kaka, accompanied by dozens of security personnel drawn from the Central Armed Police Force, Border Security Force and police.

The ‘hypersensitive’ polling station was set up inside the local Government Middle School.

Assistant Returning Officer for 88-Surankote Assembly constituency Farooq Khan said the polling party and security personnel along with magistrates deployed at Hill Kaka polling station have done a marvellous job in executing successful voting there.

“There were 377 registered voters in Hill Kaka, out of which 171 male and 142 female voters exercised their franchise,” he said.

Khan said the polling team had a night stay on Thursday at Dak Bungalow Kalali where the intermediate strong room was established while the team stayed at the polling station itself after conducting voting.

The team started its return journey in the early morning hours on Sunday and arrived at the Surankote EVM collection centre in the evening hours, the official said.

Besides, the sector magistrate and sector officer were also dispatched to this area along with the team with two additional EVMs in order to deal with any kind of snag, officials said.

They said the team had to traverse through tough hilly ridges with a trek of almost 18 kilometres on each side and dozens of streams on the way.

Besides, communication was also a challenge at the polling station due to a lack of mobile connectivity, the officials said, adding that they used a wireless system.