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127 companies of central forces to be deployed in Bengal during 18 April poll

By HindusthanSamachar | Publish Date: Apr 12 2019 8:30PM
127 companies of central forces to be deployed in Bengal during 18 April poll
Kolkata, Apr.12 (HS): Expressing concern at the reports of violence in different areas of Coochbehar district during yesterday''s polling, the Election Commission here today decided to increase the number of Central Para Military forces in West Bengal ''substantially'' during the second Phase of elections on 18 April in three more Lok Sabha constituencies in North Bengal.Announcing this here this afternoon, Additional Chief Electoral Officer Sanjay Basu said in view of the reports of violence in several areas under Coochbehar constituency, particularly in Dinhata, Sitalkuchi and Sitai areas,the EC had decided to deploy at least 40 additional Companies of Central Forces in the state during the next phase of elections six days later in Darjeeling,Jalpaiguri and Raigunj Lok Sabha seats, to take their total number to 127 companies from 87 Companies deployed till yesterday. The Commission had decided to take no chance this time to ensure an ''absolutely peaceful, free and fair elections in all the three constituencies'' in the coming week (Thursday - 18 April), Basu said. About their availability, he said since the elections in a number of states in the North East was over after yesterday''s poll, these additional 40 Companies could come from Sikkim,Tripura,Meghalaya, Manipur and Nagaland within the next two days. Referring to the importance of Darjeeling Lok Sabha seat as it was almost equally divided between plains and hilly areas, the Addtional CEO said a vast majority of these 127 companies of Central Forces should be deployed within Darjeeling constituency only. ''Since Darjeeling witnessed large scale violence and arson during the Gorkhaland agitation last year,leading to huge damage to life and property, the Commission is taking no chance this time'', he said adding moreover in view of the sharp divisions and huge tension among the rival political forces the deployment of more forces had now become necessary. Similarly, high pitched political tension was also prevailing in Raigunj constituency in North Dinajpur district and required strong presence of Central forces there too, he said. It may be recalled that recently large sections of polling officials in Raigunj refused to take part in their training programmes as well as in the entire electoral process unless they were provided with Central security force at every polling station in view of their bitter experience last year. During the 2018 Panchayat elections, one of their colleagues - Rajkumar Roy - was found dead on Railway tracks at Itahar under mysterious circumstances a day after the polling.''We do not want to be Rajkumar Roy any more'', they emphasised. As such, now it remains to be seen how many of altogether 5390 booths under three Lok Sabha constituencies(of Darjeeling, Jalpaiguri and Raigunj) would be manned by Central Forces with the entire opposition demanding their posting in every booth,since only about 60 per cent of the total 3384 booths under Coochbehar and Alipurduar constituencies could be covered and protected by them yesterday because of lack of enough man power leading to violence despite the presence of State Police Forces. Hindusthan Samachar/Ankur/Pramod \
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