Andhra Pradesh poll violence: ECI summons Chief Secy & DGP

The poll panel summoned Chief Secretary (CS) KS Jawahar Reddy and DGP (Director General of Police) Harish Kumar Gupta to appear before the commission on Thursday (May 16).
Chief Secretary KS Jawahar Reddy 
and DGP Harish Kumar Gupta
Chief Secretary KS Jawahar Reddy and DGP Harish Kumar Gupta

VIJAYAWADA: Taking cognizance of the violence that erupted across Andhra Pradesh on the day of polling on Monday as well as after the elections on Tuesday, the Election Commission of India (ECI) on Wednesday expressed its displeasure over the law and order situation in the State.

The poll panel summoned Chief Secretary (CS) KS Jawahar Reddy and DGP (Director General of Police) Harish Kumar Gupta to appear before the commission on Thursday (May 16).

Emphasising that there is no scope for violence in a democracy, the ECI sought explanation from the Chief Secretary and DGP on the reasons for failure of administration to control post-poll violence in the State, for not anticipating the incidents and remedial measures taken to prevent the violence. The officials were instructed to be present before the commission by 3:30 pm at Nirvachan Sadan in New Delhi.

Later in the day, Chief Secretary Jawahar Reddy, DGP Harish Kumar Gupta, and Intelligence chief Kumar Vishwajeet convened a meeting and reviewed security arrangements in the problematic locations across the State where incidents of violence were reported.

They instructed the officials concerned to bring the situation under control immediately. The officials also discussed and prepared a presentation on the measures taken by the police to restore normalcy in the violence-hit areas.

On the day of polling, incidents of violence were reported at Macherla and Narasaraopeta constituencies in Palnadu district, Tadipatri in Anantapur district, Chandragiri constituency in Tirupati district, and in a few parts of Srikakulam and Chittoor districts.

A day after the elections, violence continued in Palnadu region, Tadipatri, and Tirupati.

Speaking to mediapersons in Vijawayada on Wednesday, Chief Election Officer Mukesh Kumar Meena stressed that election officials, district, and police administration controlled the situation to ensure there was no need for re-polling.

Pointing out that skirmishes continued even after polling, particularly in Tadipatri, Macherla, Chandragiri, and Narasaraopeta, the CEO said, “On the directions of the Election Commission, candidates in these four places were put under house arrest immediately. All those who were involved in the violent incidents were identified and are being arrested.”

Chief Secretary KS Jawahar Reddy 
and DGP Harish Kumar Gupta
Day after polling in Andhra, violence rages on

According to the CEO, besides deploying additional forces at the four places, the DGP has directed officials to set up police pickets at 715 places across the State where they anticipate trouble.

Elaborating on the measures implemented by the DGP to control the situation, he explained, “CrPC Section 144 was imposed and local movement was restricted. Additional forces, led by senior officers, were deployed. An internal inquiry was ordered to identify officials conniving with trouble-mongers during the polling and dereliction of their duties. Stern action will be initiated against them as well. It is not just the perpetrators, but those who supported them will be brought to book.”

Stating that EVMs at nine places were destroyed, he asserted that those responsible for the damage are being identified with the help of CCTV footage and will be put behind bars. “Sternest action will be initiated against them as per law,” he said.

Chief Secretary KS Jawahar Reddy 
and DGP Harish Kumar Gupta
Violent incidents mar polling at a few places in Andhra Pradesh

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