ECI announces special polling stations for displaced voters in Manipur conflict

In response to the ongoing conflict in Manipur, the Election Commission of India (ECI) has announced the establishment of special polling stations at relief camps to enable voting for individuals displaced by the turmoil during the forthcoming Lok Sabha elections.

According to a statement released by the state Chief Electoral Officer on Friday, a significant number of registered electors in various parts of the state have been uprooted from their homes due to the conflict that erupted on May 3, 2023. These displaced individuals, currently residing in relief camps across different districts, remain enrolled in their original constituencies despite being displaced.

In consultation with both central and state governments, the ECI has directed that all internally displaced persons who had to flee their native areas during the conflict will continue to be listed on the electoral rolls of the respective assembly and parliamentary constituencies in Manipur.

Building on past practices in similar situations, the ECI will establish special polling stations within the relief camps to facilitate voting for these internally displaced electors. Separate Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) will be utilized for each parliamentary constituency during the voting process.

The statement also confirms that all regulations and guidelines applicable to regular polling stations will be enforced at these special stations.

Moreover, designated assistant returning officers (AROs) will oversee the counting of votes cast at these special polling stations. Dedicated counting centers will be established specifically for this purpose and will be pre-approved by the Commission.

The conflict in Manipur has resulted in significant displacement, with records indicating the loss of over 200 lives. Currently, more than 50,000 internally displaced individuals are seeking refuge in relief centers across five valley districts and three hill districts since the violence began last year on May 3.

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