Left writes to EC over post-poll violence

Left writes to EC over post-poll violence

The continuing spate of poll-related violence has become a cause for concern for the EC, with incidents of violence being reported from across West Bengal.

 The Opposition parties have urged the poll panel to have continued presence of central police forces till things calm down.

While at least 20 people have been killed in the last three weeks and a number of people being arrested, the Opposition parties are worried that post-poll violence will increase over the days counting down to poll results on May 19.

 Expressing their concerns, top CPM leaders wrote to Chief Election Commissioner Nasim Zaidi, pointing out that “…post-poll violence continues unabated, even leading to fatalities”. The letter, co-signed by CPM general Sitaram Yechury and party central secretariat member Nilotpal Basu, asked for the poll panel’s intervention.

“Since the interregnum between the final phase of polling and the counting of votes is almost two weeks, special measures need to be planned and implemented,” they said. The CPM leaders pointed out that despite “widespread appreciation” over security measures taken by EC on polling days, there have been “problems in few ACs…” They stated that “a most obnoxious feature” of post-poll violence is that even children from families of Opposition supporters “are not being spared”.

The Left leaders cited the examples of TMC workers hurting a three-year-old girl at Bijpur in North 24 Parganas and assaulting 11-year-old Shahin Mollah at Canning (East) in South 24 Parganas. They both came under attack after their parents went on to vote for the Left-Congress coalition, defying threats and diktat from ruling party workers. Shahin was assaulted earlier this week after he made a kite out of a Trinamool flag. “The earlier pattern of violence being directed to opposition polling agents also continue,” who are being attacked even after polls are over, they added.

“…abrupt withdrawal of the CAPF on the completion of the polling is being utilised by these miscreants; therefore, some post-poll security management planning also needs to be undertaken,” they suggested. The Left leaders further claimed that “the absence of a strong deterrent in the form of a firm action” has also emboldened Trinamool chairperson Mamata Banerjee to issue threats against the police from one of her last campaign rallies in East Midnapore, which underwent polling on May 5.

Mamata had threatened a section of the police with “consequences” if she returned to power for what she called their “excesses” during the last three phases of polling.
The CPM central committee members urged EC to take “stringent action” against her, since state police officials worked “under the directions of the EC to ensure free and fair polls”.

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