Andhra Pradesh Retains Security Forces to Prevent Post-Poll Violence

Political Violence Photoroom
Preeti Bali / 10:39 am / May 17, 2024

In response to post-election violence, authorities in Andhra Pradesh have requested the retention of 25 companies of Central Armed Police Forces (CAPF) for 15 days following the counting of votes. This proposal, approved by the Election Commission of India (ECI) on Thursday, aims to mitigate potential violence surrounding the announcement of election results.


Amid reports of violence following the poll, ECI orders the extension of the CAPF deployment in Andhra Pradesh


The ECI has directed the Ministry of Home Affairs to keep these forces in Andhra Pradesh for the additional 15-day period to manage any outbreaks of violence after the results are declared, as stated by the commission.


Several violent incidents were reported in the districts of Ananthapuramu, Palnadu, and Tirupati on the day of polling and the following day. There were also reports of violence prior to the elections, including assaults, arson targeting the property and offices of opposing parties, threats, damage to campaign vehicles, and stone pelting. These incidents were predominantly concentrated in the districts of Annamaya, Chittoor, and Palnadu, with some occurrences in Guntur, Anantapur, and Nandyal.


During a meeting held on Thursday at Nirvachan Sadan, the commission, led by Chief Election Commissioner Rajiv Kumar and Election Commissioners Gyanesh Kumar and Sukhbir Singh Sandhu, expressed dissatisfaction with the post-poll violence in Andhra Pradesh to the state’s Chief Secretary and Director General of Police.


The commission unequivocally instructed the Chief Secretary and DGP to prevent any recurrence of such violence and tasked all Superintendents of Police with taking proactive measures to avoid similar situations in the future.


On Wednesday, News18 reported that the ECI had summoned the Chief Secretary and DGP to the national capital to provide a personal explanation for the administration’s failure to control the post-poll violence and to discuss pre-emptive measures to prevent future incidents.


The commission reviewed the cases on Thursday and directed the Chief Secretary and DGP to ensure strict supervision, timely filing of chargesheets against the perpetrators in accordance with the law, ideally within the model code of conduct period.


During the briefing, the Chief Secretary and DGP acknowledged instances of negligence and lack of supervision by officials in the violence-affected districts.


Transfers and Suspensions in Response to Violence


The ECI also sanctioned the transfer of the District Collector of Palnadu and the suspension of the Superintendents of Police in Palnadu and Ananthapuramu. Additionally, a departmental inquiry against these officials was approved. Similar actions were taken regarding the Superintendent of Police in Tirupati, who was also transferred and subjected to a departmental inquiry.


Twelve subordinate police officers in the districts of Palnadu, Ananthapuramu, and Tirupati were suspended, and a departmental inquiry was initiated. A Special Investigation Team was tasked with investigating the matter and submitting an action-taken report to the Commission within two days for each case. The First Information Reports (FIRs) were to be updated with additional relevant sections of the Indian Penal Code and other statutory provisions.


The polling for both Lok Sabha and assembly elections in Andhra Pradesh took place on Monday, May 13.


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