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Expect peaceful voting in Manipur after LS polls announced, minimal violence reported: CEO

Imphal, April 11 (IANS) No major incident of violence has taken place in Manipur since the announcement of the Lok Sabha polls by the Election Commission on March 16, and it is expected that voting in the state’s two parliamentary seats will be smooth and peaceful, Chief Electoral Officer Pradeep Kumar Jha said on Thursday. The Ministry of Home Affairs has provided 162 companies of central armed police forces for election security in Manipur.

“The security situations are being reviewed on a regular basis. The CAPF personnel, along with thousands of state forces, are dealing with the law and order situation besides conducting area domination and confidence-building measures,” Jha told IANS. The Inner Manipur Lok Sabha seat will go to polls on April 19, while the Outer Manipur seat will have voting in two phases on April 19 and April 26.

Over 24,500 eligible voters currently residing in relief camps due to ethnic violence in Manipur will be able to exercise their franchise at 94 special polling stations in the upcoming elections. The Election Commission directed the setup of these stations in 10 of the state’s 16 districts to enable displaced voters to cast their ballots in their original places of residence.

The full Election Commission, chaired by Chief Election Commissioner Rajiv Kumar, recently reviewed the law and order situation in Manipur ahead of the 7-phase Lok Sabha elections. A six-member team led by Senior Deputy Election Commissioner Dharmendra Sharma visited the state to assess election preparedness.

Last year, ethnic violence between Meitei and Kuki-Zomi communities in Manipur resulted in over 220 deaths, 2,000 injuries, and displacement of over 70,000 individuals. The violence erupted during a ‘Tribal Solidarity March’ organized to protest the demand for Scheduled Tribe status by the Meiteis. Many properties were damaged, and people sought shelter in safer places including neighbouring Mizoram.

The upcoming polls in Manipur are anticipated to be conducted without major incidents, thanks to the joint efforts of central armed police forces, state forces, and election officials ensuring security and order in the region. The Election Commission’s directives aim to facilitate voting for all eligible voters, including those affected by the previous year’s ethnic violence.



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