The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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EC asks cops to step up wall-writing vigil

Calcutta, March 4: The Election Commission has instructed police in Calcutta and the districts to intensify its drive against election graffiti following reports of walls being defaced even after introduction of the model code of conduct.

The poll panel is also considering action against policemen who fail to prevent smearing of walls with political and election slogans.

The commission has also decided to draw up a list of licensed arms and might take some of them in its custody.

Execution of non-bailable warrants and the drive against illegal arms would continue as usual, chief electoral officer (CEO) Debashish Sen said this afternoon.

Asked why he had sought clarifications from the poll panel on dealing with existing graffiti though the state government had already imposed a ban, Sen said: 'The poll schedule was announced on March 1 and graffiti had been written prior to the EC getting powers of jurisdiction on the issue. That is why I sought the EC's intervention.'

But the poll panel has not yet provided clarifications sought by the CEO. 'I am yet to receive a communication from the EC in this regard,' Sen said.

The CEO held a meeting with city police commissioner Prasun Mukherjee and divisional deputy commissioners today and made it clear that efforts to prevent wall writing should be stepped up.

'There should be no further graffiti and the EC is going to be extremely strict with rules,' Sen is learnt to have told senior police officers.

Following reports that some political parties were writing graffiti late in the night, the poll panel has asked the police to increase surveillance. Night patrolling would help nab those flouting the ban, the CEO told police officials.

CPM state secretary Anil Biswas told reporters in Midnapore town that party workers have been asked not to paint fresh graffiti.

He, however, said the party would not erase graffiti painted before March 1. 'Our workers painted graffiti before March 1 when the model code of conduct had not come into force.'

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