BENGALURU: If you notice a man walking around Bengaluru with an ice-cream trolley that has the National Flag on it and also has stickers that say ‘ban EVMs’, that’s Onkar Singh Dhillon. This 41-year-old has walked at least 6,500km from Rudrapur in Uttarakhand to seven other states. He reached the city on Tuesday.
His mission? To 'ban EVMs to save democracy', he says.
It started with the recent Lok Sabha elections when there were several allegations about EVMs being tampered with. This is when Dhillon decided to start a movement to use paper ballots instead of EVMs.
“EVMs can be misused manually, remotely and on site. Since it can be easily manipulated, it is a threat to our democracy. Everyone should take to the streets to speak out on this issue,” Dhillon said during a press meet.
Dhillon has been spreading the word in several states through his walkathon and he aims to complete 16,000km by reaching Delhi. Dhillon says he walks 35km per day on an average. Dhillon recounted an incident at Ajmer in Rajasthan where he was stopped by two bikes and a car.
“Nothing untoward happened but I had to call 100 to be on the safe side. They said I was wrong in doing this campaign,” he said.
Dhillon now plans to walk to Tamil Nadu and further north to Andhra Pradesh, West Bengal, Bihar and then Delhi.
Other social activists supported Dhillon in the city. “All other developed countries in the world continue to use paper ballots as there is less risk of tampering with it,” Dr Banu Prakash of Satya Yuga Samithi told TNIE.
When asked if anyone has taken any legal measures to bring in paper ballots, social activist Santo J Koovayil said that unfortunately “nobody has gone forward out of fear”.