Arunachal gears up for final showdown; security heightened

[ Amar Sangno ]

ITANAGAR, May 22: Arunachal Pradesh, along with the entire nation, is geared up for the final political showdown scheduled for Thursday.
While the state has 20 election districts, counting will take place in 24 counting halls on 23 May. Koloriang (Kurung Kumey), Itanagar (Papum Pare), Yingkiong (Upper Siang) and Longding have two counting halls, respectively.
Considering repeated instances of poll-related violence and fresh polls in various polling stations of Kurung Kumey and Kra Daadi districts, the district election officer (DEO) of Kurung Kumey has heightened security measures for counting day.
Kurung Kumey DEO Santosh Kumar Rai informed The Arunachal Times that the polling teams of Nampe under Koloriang assembly constituency and Gimba under Tali assembly constituency are safe and on their way to the district headquarters Koloriang.
Fresh polls were held in the said poll stations on 21 May for the third time.
The DEO further informed that five companies of security forces, including paramilitary forces have been deployed for counting day.
“It’s very tight and proper. No vehicles are allowed within 100 meters radius,” the DEO said.
He also informed that the general ground, which is two kilometers away from the counting centre, has been designated as the area for public gathering.
Inspector General of Police Apur Bitin, who is overseeing the security issues of Kurung Kumey district in the current polling, said that adequate security arrangements have been made to conduct peaceful counting of votes at the counting centre.
After the tragic assassination of sitting MLA and National People’s Party Khonsa West candidate, Tirong Aboh and his family members on Tuesday, the district administration has has amplified security measures in Khonsa town.
Sensing the sensitivity that has gripped the town following Aboh’s assassination, Tirap Deputy Commissioner PN Thungon disclosed that victory celebrations would be kept away from Khonsa town.
Similar restrictions have been applied in Longding headquarters, the DIPRO informed.

DA seals entry points to Lohit
Deputy Commissioner Prince Dhawan, who is also the returning officer of Arunachal East parliamentary constituency, said that entry into Lohit district have been restricted from 8AM of 23 May to 8AM of 26 May.
As a precautionary measure, curfew has been imposed till 1 June from 10PM to 5AM.
During 5AM to 10PM, when the curfew is lifted, section 144 CrPC will be put into place.
After attempts of fire by miscreants, fire extinguishers have been distributed in all localities and market. CCTV cameras in the town have been activated, while street lights have also been installed, the DC informed.
Meanwhile, a new check gate has been established at Tohangam and there are special police posts at various locations in the town, Dhawan added.
Security arrangements have been made at the state capital’s banquet hall, which will have two counting halls for three assembly constituencies under Papum Pare district.
Papum Pare DEO Dr Joram Beda informed that counting supervisors and micro observers have been appointed and trained, while second randomization of counting supervisors assistants and micro observers were completed today.
Dr Beda added that entry to the counting hall is prohibited and security cordon will be placed at 100 meters from the counting hall. Only authorized vehicles and persons are allowed movement within the cordoned area.
West Siang District Election Officer Swetika Sachan also took a review meeting here in West Siang district on key issues, to ensure fair and peaceful counting of votes on 23 May.
Papum Pare district election general observer Manoj Kr Deka briefed the micro observers about their roles and responsibilities during the counting of votes.
The MO should report directly to the GO in case of any discrepancies observed during counting, he added.
Further, the Arunachal Pradesh Police has also made tight arrangements for all districts to ensure free, fair and peaceful counting.
Apart from civil police, 33 companies of state armed forces of the AAPBn and IRBn, and around 38 companies of CAPF have been provided by the Ministry of Home Affairs.
Two-tier arrangement will be put up at all counting centres. Reserves of police force equipped with anti-riot gear and weapons will be kept in readiness in all districts, besides special anti-riot vehicles and equipment.
Important areas will be videographed, while armed cut offs will be placed at important routes to prevent the exit of any miscreants in case of any mischief.
The police headquarters will be closely monitoring the law and order situation of the state through regular communication with all districts through independent wireless network.