Updated 1 Mar 2022, 5:28 pm
INC candidate of Saitu Assembly constituency Lamtinthang Haokip was arrested by police for alleged poll violence on Monday as voting for the first phase was underway.
He was arrested along with one of his associates Jamkholet Haokip, 22, following a complaint lodged by the presiding officer of 51/56 New Keithelmanbi Upper Primary school polling station.
The duo was charged with certain acts under IPC and Representation People’s Act with a common intention for assault to the public servant from discharging duty, mischiefs among others.
Voting was stopped in the polling station in the morning around 10 am following a clash between BJP and INC supporters. Security personnel deployed in the polling station had to resort to firing several rounds in the air to disperse the mob.
An initial report said that around 9:30 am the INC supporters along with Haokip allegedly entered the polling booth armed with deadly weapons and destroyed the EVM and other polling equipment.
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The BJP Manipur Pradesh also filed a complaint to the Chief Electoral Officer, Manipur to lodge an FIR and arrest INC candidate Lamtinthang Haokip and his associates.
The Manipur Pradesh Congress Committee (MPCC) strongly condemned the arrest of Lamtinthang. Refuting the charges levelled against Lamtinthang as false, the MPCC demanded his immediate and unconditional release.
MPCC spokesperson N Bhupendra told the media at the state Congress office located at BT Road on Monday that MPCC demands unconditional release of the INC candidate.
Lamtinthang Haokip was arrested by state police who said they were trying to bring a free and fair election. However, to date, no report has been received for the arrest of any BJP candidate, the spokesperson. If the state police continue to arrest Congress candidates, then there will be no meaning of democracy.
He said MPCC has sent a complaint to the Election Commission of India (ECI), urging them to consider the matter seriously.
Sector officer No. 32 New Keithelmanbi area 51 Saitu assembly constituency, Th Loken informed that seven villages are casting vote in the assembly constituency and that there were some issues that some of the INC supporters were not given voters slip while only BJP supporters were given. Because of this some of the villagers were denied to cast their votes till 7.40 AM while the voting time began at 7 am .
According to the block level officer and presiding officer of the polling station, at about 10:00 AM some of the INC supporters came and started vandalising the VVPAD and control units along with other devices.
In the said polling station, there were 528 voters but till the time of the incident, only 49 voters had cast their votes which comprised of 23 females and 26 males. As the machines were vandalised, the presiding officer requested the authority concerned to replace the machine and were instructed to continue with nothing.
However, voting did not resume till 1:00 PM.
The wife of the candidate, Regina Pamei told reporters at MPCC office that Lamtingthang was shifted to Imphal Police station and when she urged to meet him she was not allowed to meet him and waited for more than three hours.
MPCC spokesperson, Rabi Khan, who is also the counsel of Lamtinthang said he was also refused to meet him and had to wait for hours.
He appealed to the authorities concerned for the immediate release of the INC candidate and warned of intensified agitation.
It is reported that some of the Congress workers have started blocking NH 2 (Imphal-Dimapur) road and that many of the election officials are stranded at the District Election office (DEO), Kangpokpi.
First published:28 Feb 2022, 6:17 pm
election violenceManipur poll violenceSaitu Assembly constituency