TODAY -

Shootings, booth capturing, proxy voting mar 1st phase of LS elections
Source: The Sangai Express

Imphal, April 19 2024: Dubbed as the "worst" Parliamentary elections ever in Manipur, the 18th Lok Sabha polls for Inner Manipur Parliamentary Constituency and some segments of Outer Constituency were marred with alleged booth capturing and proxy voting by armed miscreants.

This as the State is in deep turmoil due to the conflict between the Meiteis and Kukis that began on May 3 last year.

While armed miscreants allegedly threatened polling agents of the Indian National Congress candidate Dr Angomcha Bimol Akoijam, shots were fired injuring an elderly man during the poll hours.

Alleged incidents of booth capturing, proxy voting, destroying EVMs and firing of guns were reported in several polling stations.



Shootings, booth capturing, proxy voting mar 1st phase of LS elections
Shootings, booth capturing, proxy voting mar 1st phase of LS elections


While the voting began at 7 am, the early hours were mostly peaceful with candidates casting their votes in the respective polling stations.

Reported disturbances

Khongman Zone-IV

At around 8.30 am, unknown armed persons in two 4-wheeler vehicles came at The National Children's School polling station (5/31) at Khongman Zone-IV.

As per reports, the unknown armed persons allegedly went inside the polling booth and sent away all those who were inside the booth.

They allegedly cast proxy votes for around 30 minutes.

Angered by the alleged proxy voting by the armed miscreants, a large number of locals came out and stormed the polling station.

The people destroyed the EVM machines and voting was cut short.

Soon after the incident, a team of Imphal East district police led by SP K Meghachandra and personnel of Central Armed Police Force arrived at the spot.

An elderly man said the "gun culture" prevailing at present and the armed miscreants interfering in the elections have violated people's rights to choose their own candidates and exercise their universal rights of voting.

"The election today is the worst ever in the valley," he said.

Khongman Zone-V

Another polling station in the same Assembly Constituency of Thongju, 5/32 Khongman Zone V Community Hall was allegedly captured by armed miscreants for proxy voting.

Locals of the area tried to storm the polling station but the security personnel, sensing the situation, locked the shutter of the polling station.

Heated arguments broke out between the polling personnel and the angry locals for around 30 minutes.

Power Minister Th Biswajit, who is the local MLA, came at the polling station and tried to calm the situation.

The Minister talked to the election officers on duty and the security personnel regarding the incident and tried to convince the people to resume voting.

However locals demanded a repoll and voting was stopped till noon.

Bamon Kampu

At around 11 am, angered by alleged booth capturing and proxy voting, locals of Kshetrigao Assembly Constituency destroyed electronic voting machines inside the booth at 4/44 polling station opened at Bamon Kampu Pioneer Academy.

According to polling officers on duty, the casting of votes was peaceful till 10.30 am before armed miscreants allegedly came to the polling station.

Reports claimed the armed miscreants first shut down the CCTV camera and directed all personnel to leave the room.

The armed miscreants allegedly cast votes for around 30 minutes and left the place.

Afterwards, locals thronged the premises and destroyed the EVM machines.

Irilbung

Alleged proxy voting by armed miscreants was also reported in Kshetrigao Assembly Constituency's 4/45 Irilbung Government High School polling station.

Wangkhei

At around 12 noon, tension erupted near the 14/16 Wangkhei Meihoubam Lampak polling station after former president of Bharatiya Janata Party Yuva Morcha, Manoharmayum Barish Sharma along with some of colleagues holding a small firearm approached the Indian National Congress polling office and allegedly vandalised a table, chairs and other items.

They allegedly threatened the Congress workers.

A woman from a locality nearby claimed they allegedly witnessed Manoharmayum Barish and his colleagues coming in two vehicles and going straight towards the INC polling office.

She claimed they started vandalizing things kept in the polling office by holding a gun.

Police personnel who were present in the nearby area did not intervene.

Uripok

EVM machines at 10/6 Iroishemba Mamang polling station and 10/ 7 Iroishemba Mayai Leikai Iroishemba Upper Primary School polling station were destroyed by angry locals after armed miscreant allegedly threatened the agents of the Indian National Congress candidate and tried to take the agents outside the polling station.

Reports said armed miscreants came to three polling stations--10/1 Iroishemba, 10/6 Iroishemba Mamang and 10/ 7 Iroishemba Mayai Leikai and allegedly threatened Congress agents to leave the polling booths.

The armed miscreants left the places in hurry after angry locals confronted them and arguments broke out.

While the angry locals destroyed the EVMs at 10/6 and 10/7 polling stations, security personnel prevented a mob from destroying the EVM machine at the 10/1 polling station.

A large number of police personnel rushed to the spot and tried to bring the situation under control.

Khurai

An elderly man sustained bullet injury in firing by armed miscreants, who allegedly tried to abduct an agent of the Indian National Congress at 3/11 polling station opened at Moirangkampu Sajeb Upper Primary School.

The incident occurred at around 2 pm.

Sources said one SUV vehicle was parked in a suspicious manner near the polling station and two occupants went inside the polling station.

Inside the station, sources alleged, the two unknown youths asked for INC and BJP agents.

After collecting the documents from the INC agent, they allegedly tried to take him along with them.

A confrontation broke out and when locals tried to capture the two unknown persons came running out in a hurry toward their vehicle, and fired two rounds of bullets towards the crowd which injured Khoisnam Sanayaima, 70, of Moirangkampu Sajeb.

While the two persons fled towards Kangla, Sanayaima who was injured was rushed to Raj Medicity for treatment.

Bishnupur Thamnapok-pi

At around 8.40 am at polling stations 27/7 and 27/8 at Thamnapokpi Government Primary School, a heated argument broke out between two armed groups who subsequently resorted to shooting at each other.

The exchange of fire lasted around 30 minutes.

Scared, people ran and while the voting was halted, police personnel led by Additional SP (Ops) L Amarjit arrived and controlled the situation.

Voting resumed at around 10.45 am.

Moirang

A commotion, triggered by an interview, broke out at polling station 27/24 at Moirang Mayai Leikai Mandap at around 10.30 am.

When asked about the vote by a TV channel, an individual replied that there was no INC agent in the polling station.

At the end of the interview, a person approached and tried to drag the individual with him for a "talk" .

Locals thronged and tried to capture the person, but he fled. Police came and resumed the voting at around 12.10 pm.

Commotion also broke out at some polling stations at Kha Thinungei for allegedly threatening INC agents.

Poll percentage till 6 pm, for Bishnupur district, was 74.23 .


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