Death and violence during polls
We are deeply shocked and saddened at the tragic death of a ten-year-old who was caught in the crossfire between supporters of rival candidates at the union parishad (UP) elections in Keraniganj. What was supposed to have been a festive occasion where people could exercise their franchise turned into a battlefield where innocents have become the casualties of political brawls.
Already 8 people have been killed during the second phase of the UP elections and scores have been injured. Even the police have been attacked by political goons making the atmosphere more volatile and dangerous.
It is incomprehensible how individuals can storm into polling stations with firearms and not be apprehended by law enforcers. This paper has repeatedly urged the authorities, especially the Election Commission, to ensure that these elections take place in a peaceful manner. But the EC is clearly ineffectual and possibly helpless, in curbing irregularities like stuffing of ballot boxes and the violent scuffling between rival groups. In such a situation it is incumbent upon the government to intervene and take effective measures to stop this violence and the activities that will make a farce of this election.
It is unacceptable that every time there will be elections, lives will be lost. Why should poll centres become the place for political gang fights? How can it be expected that voters will come out to vote without fear?
We urge the government to expedite a probe into these deaths as well as incidences of violence in general, carried out by individuals affiliated with political parties and bring the culprits to book. This has to be done irrespective of who these individuals are and what political party they are a part of.