Lok Sabha Elections in Manipur goes astray, one receives bullet injury

Imphal: First phase of Lok Sabha Elections in Manipur witnessed mass booth capture, damage EVM and VVPAT machines at different places of the valley area on Friday.

It is reported that at various stations that a group of armed miscreants came in around 5-6 vehicles wearing black uniforms forcibly enter some of the polling stations located in Imphal East and West districts and conducted proxy voting.

In most of the polling stations, where such incidents were occurred, locals of the respective area damaged the EVM and VVPAT machine saying that there is no meaning for secret voting.

While a team of media persons inspected various polling stations in Imphal East district, EVM and VVPAT machines were found damaged and burnt down at at least four polling stations. Polling stations including 4/44 Pioner Academy of 44-Bamon Kampu; 5/31-Khongman Zone IV; 5/32-Khongman Zone V and 3/11 Moirangkampu Sajeb Upper Primary School.

Most of the locals reported that some armed miscreants wearing black uniform forcibly rushed inside the polling station and ask the polling officer and other officials to get out from the room and the miscreants reportedly casted the secret ballot one after another for around 30 minutes.

The polling officers of one of the polling station reported that the armed miscreants came inside the polling station room and asked to remove the CCTV camera installed inside the room and started casting votes forcibly after the polling officers were sent out from the room.

After they left the polling station, irate mob gathered inside the polling station and destroyed the EVM and VVPAT machines.

Similar incidents were also reported in other polling stations of the Imphal East district.

Besides, for Khongman area miscreants wearing in similar black uniforms repeated the same manner and the irate mob destroyed the EVM and VVPAT machines of 5/31 and 5/32. However, with new machines casting of secret ballot was continued at around 2 pm for 5/32-Khongman after the security personnel provided token for each voters with fresh vote.

Following the unprecedented attempt to booth capture and cast proxy votes in polling stations 5/31 and 5/32 of Khongman Zone 5 under Thongju Assembly Constituency, a team of Assistant Returning Officer (ARO) also inspected the two polling stations to ascertain the situation.

The ARO cross checked the electoral roll at the polling to properly verify who had casted their votes and even instructed that the voting could continue. Voters were dissatisfied with the debacle protested in front of the polling stations demanding re-poll and to punish the armed miscreants involved in the incident.

One of the protestors whose vote had been casted by the unknown miscreants stated that security stationed at the polling stations just stood hands in pocket as the miscreants barged into the polling stations. He expressed suspicion that powerful hands were the ones pulling the strings and orchestrating the whole incident.

When asked about how many proxy votes had been casted at the polling stations the ARO declined to comment.

Similar, issue was occurred at Moirangkampu Sajeb polling station. When the irate mob tried to stop the miscreants from proxy voting, two of them fired towards the crowd in which one person received bullet injury. The injured person was rushed to Raj Medicity hospital for further treatment.

Irate mob destroyed and burnt down the EVM and VVPAT machines.

Sources reported culprits involved in firing incident has been arrested, which is yet to be confirmed.

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