Meghalaya: 900 polling stations identified as vulnerable, critical ahead of polling tomorrow

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Indelible ink | Photo: UNI

Shillong: Ahead of Monday's Assembly elections, as many as 900 polling stations across the state have been identified as vulnerable and critical, the state's chief electoral officer (CEO) said on Saturday.

Speaking to ANI on Saturday, FR Kharkongor, CEO, Meghalaya said, "These 900 polling stations have had some past records (of violence)."

Militant groups were active earlier in Garo and Khasi Hills region while a few untoward incidents were reported during previous elections.

The Election Commission has deployed 119 companies of Central Armed Police Forces (CAPF) in Meghalaya to ensute a smooth conduct of the Assembly polls in the state.

"To ensure law and order, we have deployed 119 companies (of central paramilitary forces) here," Kharkongor told ANI.

"We had deployed 40 companies earlier and another 79 companies after the successful conduct of the Tripura Assembly elections. There are no reports of any law-and-order problems so far. Unfortunately, however, a candidate for the Sohiong constituency passed away in a hospital, resulting in the postponement of elections in this segment. We have already sent information and recommendation for adjustment of the poll to the Election Commission. So, in all likelihood, polling will be held in 59 of the 60 Assembly constituencies," the Meghalaya CEO added.

"We have set up a total 3,482 polling stations. All preparations are underway and all 12 district election teams have made all arrangements for the polls and further preparation is underway. We had some minor issues in Garo hills where there was a clash between members of two parties at Phulbari in the West Garo hills district. But that dispute was resolved. We arrested 31 persons in connection with the matter. A few incidents took place in Shillong but the situation there is also under control. By and large, election preparedness is going on smoothly," he said.

Meanwhile, the EC has ordered the sealing of Meghalaya's international border with Bangladesh till March 2.

"We have taken preventive measures to ensure a free and fair election in the state. Section 144 of CrPC has been imposed along the international border," Kharkongor said.

The district magistrate of East Khasi Hills district on Friday issued an order saying that movement of individuals will remain strictly prohibited within a one km radius of the India-Bangladesh border of East Khasi Hills district between February 24-March 2.

"It is necessary that the international border with Bangladesh must be sealed and movement to and from the international border should be restricted. If such unregulated movement of individuals between the two countries is allowed, then there is a likelihood of law and order problems and risk to human life, public safety and tranquillity," said the order copy.

The district administration of East Khasi Hills district has also imposed Section 144 of CrPC along the border areas.

The counting of votes in Meghalaya will be done on March 2 along with those of Tripura and Nagaland. (ANI)

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