Violence mars Tripura civic polls
SC asks state to deploy central armed police force
Agartala, Nov 25 (UNI): The elections to 13 urban local bodies in Tripura were marred by massive violence, large-scale malpractice and demonstration of muscle power of the ruling dispensation on Thursday.
The situation has compelled the Supreme Court to direct the state to deploy central armed police force and ensure unhindered access of media to report the election, as CCTV coverage was not in the polling booths.
The State Election Commission officials stated that till last hour, 73.75% polling was registered but it would be reaching more than 83% in the final count.
According to a report, as many as 44 trouble mongers from various areas of poll-bound Agartala Municipal Corporation (AMC) and more than 150 demonstrators of opposition Trinamool Congress and CPI-M were arrested on the day of poll. Altogether 32 people including voters, polling agents and candidates were hurt in the violence in Agartala.
Younger brother of BJP MLA Ashis Kumar Saha was assaulted allegedly by BJP cadres at a polling station in the city, a 75-year-old man was manhandled on his way of voting at VIP Road, 23 candidates of both CPI-M and TMC were beaten up in various locations of the state. The voters and opposition parties alleged that obstructions of voters, attacks and false voting happened in presence of police.
Demanding fresh polls in all the seats, CPI-M supporters and the candidates of Agartala Municipal Corporation (AMC) demonstrated in front of West Agartala police station while TMC demonstrated in front of East Agartala police station. Later, police detained them for assembly violating section 144 of CrPC.
The CPI-M state Secretary Jitendra Chowdhury alleged that police helped the ruling party cadres in the polling booths for false voting and preventing the voters. Despite direction from the apex court police failed to provide security to the voters and the candidates of the opposition parties. The polling agents of CPI-M in 610 booths of 644 were not allowed to sit in the polling stations.
“We have been registering our complaints with returning officers and the police for the last three days to ensure fair polling but no effective step was taken. The ruling party cadres openly warned non-BJP families not to go for casting vote and we have lodged specific complaints seeking action, nothing has happened. As a result, each of the polling booths turned into a battle ground today,” Chowdhury alleged.