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ECI urges swift action to ensure Manipur IDPs’ participation in polls, IAF to help ferry polling personnel to Arunachal

First Published: 3rd April, 2024 20:11 IST

The ECI meet discussed the recent violence and turmoil in Manipur and ramifications in conduct of peaceful elections

The Election Commission of India on Wednesday urged all officials and stakeholders involved in conducting the Lok Sabha polls in violence-hit Manipur to take appropriate steps to ensure full participation of the Internally Displaced Persons in the state.

“The recent violence and turmoil in Manipur and ramifications in conduct of peaceful elections were also addressed, with the Commission urging swift action to assist Internally Displaced Persons and ensure their participation in the electoral process,” an official release issued after the review meeting of the Commission said.

“The purpose of the combined review was to bring all concerned stakeholders together on the same platform for a seamless coordination and cooperation amongst officials of the neighboring states/UTs along with central agencies guarding the borders. The Commission, in detail, reviewed critical issues pertaining to each State/UT”, the EC said.

The Commission reviewed support from Indian Air force and state civil aviation department for sorties to ferry polling teams in challenging regions of 11 states like Arunachal Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Maharashtra.
The meeting was chaired by Chief Election Commissioner Rajiv Kumar along with ECs Gyanesh Kumar and Sukhbir Singh Sandhu and was attended by top officials from the states and UTs and central agencies guarding the borders.

During the meeting, Rajiv Kumar directed officers to ensure 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 level playing field.

He also directed States/UTs to ensure that every voter can exercise their right to vote without fear or intimidation.

Among the key issues discussed during the meeting was “identification and monitoring of flashpoints in border areas that may have ramifications on the election process; pre-emptive measures to address communal tensions based on past experiences, and the imperative of securing porous borders against illegal activities,” an EC statement said.

The Commission also mentioned the importance of strict vigilance to curb the movement of contraband items, including narcotics, liquor, arms, and explosives across international borders. The poll panel also directed for identifying exit and entry points for the movement of liquor and cash along the borders, curbing illegal Ganja cultivation in some states.

Directions were given for adequate security measures to safeguard political functionaries and candidates based on threat perception, particularly in states like Chhattisgarh and Jammu & Kashmir.

The EC instructed the agencies in-charge of international borders, Assam Rifles, Sashastra Seema Bal, Border Security Force, Indo-Tibetan Border Police and the Indian Coast Guard to maintain a strict vigil.

Officials of the Ministry of Defence and Ministry of Home Affairs also attended the meeting.

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