ECI to send 10 more companies of special forces to Arunachal: CEO

Itanagar, Apr 12 (UNI) The Election Commission of India (ECI) will be sending an additional 10 companies of Special Forces to Arunachal Pradesh to ensure a free, fair, and peaceful conduct of the ensuing general elections in the hilly state.

“The newly deployed forces will arrive in the state by next week,” Arunachal Pradesh Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) Pawn Kumar Sain said on Friday.

On poll day, the CAPFs shall be assigned the duties of guarding the polling stations, poll materials, poll personnel, and the poll process, he said.

The CEO informed that the poll panel, in coordination with the Union Home Ministry, which has administrative control over the central paramilitary forces, has recently made an assessment of all aspects having bearing on the election process in Arunachal Pradesh.

“After assessing the ground reports, the ECI has approved sending an additional 10 companies of Special Forces to take stern action against those who try to interfere in the peaceful and fair electoral process in the state,” the CEO said.

Reiterating the Election Commission’s commitment to ensuring free, fair, peaceful, and inducement-free elections, Sain stated, “We will not allow any elements to hamper the poll process.”

Presently, 70 companies of the Central Armed Police Forces, State Armed Police, and IRBn are stationed in different districts of Arunachal Pradesh. The newly deployed additional 10 companies will arrive in the state by next week. A total of 80 companies will be in position during the conduct of the 2024 general elections in the state, a senior official in the CEO’s office said.

“The deployment of such a large number of security personnel is the highest ever in the State of Arunachal Pradesh. The core duties of the paramilitary forces personnel deployed for election duty are to instill a sense of confidence and security among people to exercise their franchise freely without any fear,” Deputy CEO Shania Kayem Mize said.

Pointing out the additional responsibilities of the armed forces, which include maintaining law and order, preventing poll violence, and guarding the Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs), CEO Sain said, “The deployment of central forces would help in preventing post-poll violence, booth capture, EVM damages, and eventually will help in eradicating the re-poll culture in the state.”

Besides the deployment of the armed forces, webcasting of polling stations will be in place. Apart from all these, micro observers have been appointed against the critical polling stations, who would be reporting to the general observers, Shania said.

The Northeastern state is going to vote for the 18th Lok Sabha and to elect the 11th Legislative Assembly of Arunachal Pradesh concurrently on April 19.

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