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LS Polls 2024 | Safeguard political functionaries, candidates in J&K: ECI

Directs all states, UTs to hold free and fair polls
01:56 AM Apr 04, 2024 IST | GK NEWS SERVICE
ls polls 2024   safeguard political functionaries  candidates in j k  eci
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New Delhi, Apr 3:  Directing all states and union territories to hold free and fair parliamentary polls, the Election Commission of India (ECI) Wednesday called for taking adequate security measures to safeguard political functionaries and candidates in Jammu and Kashmir based on threat perception.

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Convening a crucial meeting with all states and union territories, the ECI gave directions for adequate security measures to safeguard political functionaries and candidates based on threat perception, particularly in states like Chhattisgarh and Jammu and Kashmir.

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The ECI reviewed and assessed the law and order situation, prevention of illicit activities, seizures and strict vigil across inter-state and international borders in the elections to Lok Sabha and state legislative assemblies 2024 for free, fair, peaceful, and inducement free elections.

The purpose of the combined review was to bring all concerned stakeholders together on the same platform for seamless coordination and cooperation amongst officials of the neighbouring states and UTs along with central agencies guarding the borders.

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The ECI reviewed in detail critical issues about each state and UT.

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The meeting chaired by Chief Election Commissioner Rajiv Kumar along with Election Commissioners Gyanesh Kumar and Sukhbir Singh Sandhu was attended by top officials from states and UTs and central agencies guarding the borders.

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CEC Rajiv Kumar in his opening remarks underscored the commission’s commitment to ensuring free, fair, peaceful, and inducement-free elections, and called upon all stakeholders to work together seamlessly to uphold the integrity of the electoral process and ensure a level playing field.

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He directed the states and UTs to ensure that every voter exercises their right to vote without fear or intimidation.

CEC Kumar called on all states and UTs and agencies to convert their ‘resolve’ into concrete ‘actions’ for free, fair, peaceful, and intimidation-free elections.

Key issues discussed during the meeting included the need for enhanced coordination among neighbouring States and UTs, diligent deployment of CAPF provided adequately in all states and UTs; logistical support for movement and transport of CAPF personnel in bordering poll-going states and UTs; identification and monitoring of flashpoints in border areas that may have ramifications on the election process; preemptive measures to address communal tensions based on past experiences, and the imperative of securing porous borders against illegal activities.

The commission underscored the importance of strict vigilance to curb the movement of contraband items including narcotics, liquor, arms, and explosives across international borders.

It directed for identification of exit and entry points for the movement of liquor and cash along the borders, curbing illegal Ganja cultivation in some states.

The commission reviewed support from the Indian Air Force and State Civil Aviation Department for sorties to ferry polling teams in challenging regions of 11 states like Arunachal Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, and Maharashtra.

The ECI also addressed the recent violence and turmoil in Manipur and its ramifications in the conduct of peaceful elections with the commission urging swift action to assist Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) and ensure their participation in the electoral process.
Several directions were given that included:

LAW & ORDER RELATED
• Integrated check posts at international and inter-state borders for strict surveillance
• Sharing of intelligence on criminals and anti-social elements between bordering districts
• Sealing of inter-state borders to prevent bogus voting during the last 48 hours
• Regular inter-state coordination meetings of border districts
• Intensify patrolling on inter-state border districts by state police
• Additional nakas are to be set up at strategic locations in coordination with bordering states
• Seal inter-state border on poll day
• Excise Commissioners of bordering states and UTs to ensure checking of the genuineness of the permits and surprise checks of liquor shops especially in border districts
• Timely deposition of licensed weapons and execution of non-bailable warrants
• Action against absconders, history sheeters, and criminals involved in election-related offences
• Adequate security cover for political functionaries and candidates based on threat perception

Expenditure Monitoring
• Plugging the inflow of illicit liquor, cash, and drugs along inter-state and international borders
• Strengthening monitoring at check posts with CCTV camera installation
• Joint checking and operations by Police, Excise, Transport, GST, and Forest Departments
• Strict vigil along helipads, airports, bus stations, and railway stations
• Strict action against liquor and drug kingpins; curtail the flow of country-made liquor; establish forward and backward linkages to plug it systemically
• Mapping of sensitive routes for transport of liquor, cash, drugs and freebies

Directions to Central Agencies
• Strict vigil along the Indo-Myanmar border by Assam Rifles; Indo-Nepal Border by SSB especially in areas having a porous border with Nepal; Indo-Bangladesh border and western borders by BSF; Indo-China border by ITBP, and in states with coastal area by Indian Coast Guard
• Assam Rifles to hold regular joint security coordination meetings with State Police, and CAPF
• SSB is to keep strict watch over international borders with Nepal and Bangladesh for any illicit activity, especially before 72 hours of poll
• Ensure area familiarisation for newly inducted CAPF companies in coordination with civil administration.
• Establish Joint Check Posts in coordination with State Police

Chief Secretary, DGP, Principal Secretary (Home), Principal Secretary (Excise), Chief Electoral Officer and State Police Nodal Officer of all States and UTs, heads of central agencies involved in guarding borders including Border Security Force, Assam Rifles, Sashastra Seema Bal, Indo Tibetan Border Police, and Coast Guard along with heads of CRPF, Central CAPF nodal officer, Additional Secretary MHA, and representatives from M/o Defence and Railways attended the review meeting.

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