EC warns negligent officials in violence-torn areas of strict action

Kolkata, April 23 (IANS) Amid reports of poll related violence from various parts of West Bengal, the Election Commission on Saturday warned that the officials concerned in the violence-torn areas would be held accountable and face strict action if they show any negligence in taking preventive measures or legal action.

“The commission has directed the state election machinery and police authorities to deal with all such matters timely and effectively.

“The commission has also directed to hold the concerned officials in the areas of poll-related violence accountable and also take strict action against such officials if they show any negligence in taking necessary preventive measures or post occurrence legal action in such cases,” the poll panel said in a statement.

It assured that violence would be curbed at all cost and free, fair and peaceful elections ensured in the upcoming phases of the West Bengal assembly polls.

“The Election Commission strongly reiterates that the entire election machinery including police authorities shall curb violence at all cost and ensure free, fair and peaceful elections in all the polling stations and areas falling under Assembly Constituencies in the upcoming phases,” it said.

The commission said prior to the poll day, as part of vulnerability mitigation strategy, confidence building measures were being undertaken by large number of central police forces.

The steps being taken include visits to the identified vulnerable habitations, contacting vulnerable people and also preventive measures like seizure of arms and weapons, execution of non-bailable warrants, binding down of ‘history-sheeters’ and anti-social elements by applying relevant legal provisions to ensure fear free environment.

The commission averred that every case of pre-poll, poll day and post-poll violence was being closely monitored and strict action would be taken against such perpetrators irrespective of their political affiliation.

Voters in 167 of the state’s total 294 assembly constituencies exercised their right to franchise on April 4 and 11, 17 and 21 in the first three phases.

Polling in the fourth, fifth and sixth phases will be held on April 25, 30 and May 5 for 49, 53 and 25 constituencies respectively.



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