Election Commission directs border security, calls for participation amidst Manipur violence

The Election Commission of India held a crucial meeting on April 3, gathering representatives from all states and union territories (UTs) to evaluate the law and order situation...

The Election Commission of India held a crucial meeting on April 3, gathering representatives from all states and union territories (UTs) to evaluate the law and order situation and enhance security measures for the ongoing General Elections to Lok Sabha and state legislative assemblies in 2024. The primary objective of the meeting was to safeguard the integrity of the electoral process by preventing illicit activities and promoting vigilance across borders. Emphasising coordination among neighboring states/UTs and central agencies, the Commission aimed to guarantee free, fair, and peaceful elections, devoid of any inducements.

The meeting’s main topics of discussion were how to strengthen cooperation between surrounding states and UTs, properly deploy the Central Armed Police Forces (CAPF), keep an eye out for any hotspots near borders, and stop illicit activities like cross-border smuggling. Particular directives included joint check posts for increased surveillance, stepping up patrols, and shutting interstate borders on election days. In addition, logistical planning for CAPF mobility, resolving intercommunal conflicts, and safeguarding borders against illicit activity were prioritised. In order to stop the influx of illegal goods including cash, alcohol, and drugs, there was a significant focus on monitoring expenditures, and central agencies were entrusted with maintaining tight surveillance along international borders.

Participation of IDPs in Manipur polls

In efforts to bolster security measures, the Commission also directed for adequate security cover to political functionaries and candidates, particularly in sensitive regions like Arunachal Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Maharashtra among 11 other states. Additionally, the recent violence in Manipur prompted urgent action to aid internally displaced persons and ensure their participation in the electoral process.

In response to the recent violence and turmoil in Manipur, the Election Commission of India has urged all officials and stakeholders involved in conducting the Lok Sabha polls in the violence-affected state to take necessary steps to ensure the full participation of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs). An official release issued after the review meeting of the Commission highlighted the Commission’s concerns regarding the impact of recent unrest on the conduct of peaceful elections in Manipur. The Commission emphasised the importance of swift action to assist IDPs and facilitate their involvement in the electoral process.

Leading representatives from states, union territories, and federal agencies tasked with border security attended the conference, which was chaired by Chief Election Commissioner Rajiv Kumar and attended by ECs Gyane Kumar and Sukhbir Singh Sandhu.

Rajiv Kumar gave instructions to maintain free, fair, peaceful, and inducement-free elections during the meeting, highlighting the necessity of seamless cooperation amongst stakeholders to preserve the electoral process’ integrity. He emphasized how crucial it is to guarantee that no voter faces intimidation or fear in order to exercise their right to vote.

In order to protect the integrity of the election process, the EC also directed organizations in charge of managing international boundaries, such as the Indian Coast Guard, Sashastra Seema Bal, Assam Rifles, Border Security Force, and Indo-Tibetan Border Police.

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