CEO’s orders ‘trampled, violated’
Media disallowed to gather details inside polling stations
Srinagar: Something ‘fishy’ was happening inside the polling booths as the reporters affiliated with different media organizations were not allowed to gather the details, thus putting the orders issued by Chief Election Officer (CEO) Jammu and Kashmir, Shaileen Kabra at bay.
The CEO as per the directions passed issued in favour of the reporters had authorized the entry and re-entry of the journalists inside the polling stations of wards, in exercise of the Powers conferred by section 282 of the J&K, municipal Act, 2000 and section 9 of the J&K Municipal Corporation Act, 2000.
However, the journalists affiliated with different media organizations were not allowed to enter into the polling booths to gather details. Even the authorization documents issued by the CEO were not honored.
The security officers deployed outside the polling stations said that they have been ordered ‘not to allow’ any journalist from print or electronic media to enter inside the polling stations.
Notably, this was for the first time that the journalists were not allowed to cover the elections.
However, the polling officer came out from polling booth at Bagh-e- Mehtab and shared details with the media persons there, saying that only eight votes were polled in four booths since the morning till 01:20 Pm in the afternoon.
The official informed that at polling booth number 1, 2, and 6, one vote each was casted there while as on polling booth number 3, five votes were polled since morning out of which three were male and two females.
Though at some places, the media persons were allowed to gather the details.
At polling booth number 5 C in Bemina, total number of voters was 688 while 104, i.e. 15.1 percent were polled till 11:40 am. Polling officers informed that 11 among 104 were females.
At polling booth number 10 H Bemina, total number of voters was 940 while as some 336, i.e 35. 7 per cent were polled till 11:42 am, 118 among them were females.
In Bemina 8 F, out of 691 voters, only one Male voter had come out to cast the vote, i.e 0.1 per cent till 11:45 am.
Similarly, the media persons were also prevented from discharging their duties at Handwara in north Kashmir’s Kupwara district.
Photojournalists working for some newspapers also said that they were not allowed to cover ULB polls at Handwara.
“We are not even allowed to move freely. The cops told us that there was clear direction from the district authorities not to allow media persons to cover the ULB polls,” said photojournalist, Shuaib Masoodi.
However, some of the media persons said that they were allowed to cover the polls later.
Meanwhile, a group of voters also prevented photo and video journalists from covering polls at Bemina area of Srinagar city.
Witnesses said that voters prevented photojournalists from taking pictures at a polling booth set up at Government Boy’s High School Bemina.
They said photojournalists working with various media organisations had gone to cover the ULB polls, however, the voters objected to their duties.
The Municipal polls that commenced from Monday in the state will be conducted in four phases. At least eight candidates were in a fray in the first phase from three wards including 16, 17 and 74.
Authorities had said that 35 polling stations were arranged in the first phase for three wards in Srinagar.