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Kerala election: Special security measures in districts

Kerala goes for a single-phase assembly elections on Tuesday under the protection of 59,292 police personnel and 140 companies of central forces. Kerala Police chief Loknath Behra had on Saturday said that all security arrangements have been finalised for the uniform manner of the assembly polls with a total of 59,292 police personnel and a drone system to check groups and obstruction of electors in the hinterlands on polling day. Behra had said that the entire state will be divided into special security zones and police will be stationed under the leadership of senior officers.

Kerala Chief Electoral Officer Teeka Ram Meena had earlier said that 140 companies of central forces have arrived in the state for the election, adding that the poll body is fully equipped up to have a free, fair, independent and credible election in the country.

“Detailed guidelines have been issued for the political parties, for voters, officers to maintain the social distancing as well as to provide all the CovidD kits at the polling booths,” he said.

The central forces combine personnel from CISF, CRPF and BSF. Central forces, specially trained to deal with violent crowds, have also been provided with weapons, including automatic rifles. This is the first time that so many central forces are extended for elections. The security arrangements are being made under the leadership of the district police chiefs, dividing 481 police stations in the state into 142 election subdivisions.

“A total of 59,292 police personnel, including 24,788 special police officers, are providing security for the polls. These include 4405 sub-inspectors, 784 inspectors and 258 DySPs. There will be 34,504 officers on the rank of civil police officer and senior civil police officer,” a press statement from Kerala Police said.

“The drone system will be used to detect crowds and obstruction of voters in the hinterlands on polling day. The footage collected by the drone will soon be handed over to the police patrol party and the culprits will be caught.”

The police said that officers from the crime branch, vigilance, railway police, officers from the fire force, excise, forest, Marine Enforcement, Motor Vehicles department, officers from police battalions and training centres have also been extended for observing the polls.

“There will be 1694 group patrol teams connecting 13,830 places where polling booths are located. Polling booths in eight or ten places are arranged in such a way that a team can move around within a maximum of 15 minutes. Each team will have a videographer. In addition, a Law and Order Patrol Team comprising Central Army personnel has been deployed at each police station and a special patrol team has been deployed in each Election Sub Division under the leadership of the DySP to maintain law and order. The Special Operations Group and Thunderbolt will be on 24-hour vigil in Naxal-hit areas,” read the statement.

“Special security has been ensured for police stations and polling booths in these areas. In addition, 95 companies of police personnel are on standby at various centres in the state to deal with any emergency. Police have been deployed for border sealing duty at 152 places in the border districts to curb smuggling, liquor smuggling and goons,” it said.

“If there is a security threat to the polling agents, they will be protected by informing the respective station house officers. Polling agents will be provided police protection if needed to travel from home to the polling station and back,” the release said.

 

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