Shoot orders issued to curb poll violence
With the third phase of the panchayat elections being conducted in the most sensitive areas of the district on July 31, the district police top brass have issued orders to the cops to open fire at those who resort to violence or arson during the election or counting process.
Elections will be held in the sensitive faction-hit mandals of Tadipatri, Uravakonda, Guntakal and parts of Raptadu Assembly constituencies. Of the 345 gram panchayats going to polls, the police have identified 238 as hyper sensitive, 150 sensitive and 70 normal polling stations in these places.
Apart from the 10,000 police personnel, an additional battalion of Central Reserve Protection Force (CRPF) from Chennai will be deployed in the poll-bound panchayats as a part of the security bandobust.
After reviewing the poll arrangements with the district collector and other officials, superintendent of police (SP) S Syam Sunder told newsmen here on Monday that any form of violence would not be tolerated. “We have given orders to the policemen to open fire if there are incidents of clashes with lethal weapons or bombs or attacks on police vehicles or stone-pelting during the elections or the counting process,’’ he said.
Syam Sunder said that first and second phases of the elections had passed off peacefully because of the heavy police bandobust. He said that cases under the stringent SC/ST Atrocities Act would be registered against those who indulged in attacks on SCs and STs during the elections.
The SP said that more than 30,000 persons had been ‘bound over’ by the police and if they were found indulging in poll-related violence, they would be fined `1 lakh or imprisoned for six months. The police boss also asked non-locals in poll-bound areas to leave the villages before the election day.
Meanwhile, the police also said that the third phase would be a litmus test for them as the elections were being conducted in Tadipatri, the stronghold of Congress MLA JC Diwakar Reddy, Uravakonda represented by TDP MLA P Kesav and some parts of Raptadu constituency, which was represented by Paritala Sunitha. “These three constituencies are known faction areas and elections have always been hit by violence,’’ a police officer said.
Speaking on the occasion, district collector DS Lokesh Kumar said they would postpone the elections, if any individual or party tried to cause any hindrance to the poll process.
Joint collector S Satyanarayana and zilla parishad CEO Vijayender were among those who participated in the review meeting.