EC plays down Congress complaint but cracks whip on Tripura
The Election Commission on Friday agreed with a Tripura government report that suggested the Congress had exaggerated the injuries to its general secretary, Ajoy Kumar, in an attack in the state's Jirania area on Wednesday.
But while frowning on the Congress for holding a rally in the area without permission, the poll panel sought an explanation for the violence, acted against three police officers, directed protection and a level playing for politicians, and ordered action against "partisan" officers.
Special observers are being sent to the BJP-ruled state to monitor the deployment of central forces.
On Thursday, Congress general secretary Kumari Selja, party communications department head Pawan Khera and secretary Vineet Punia had gone to the commission to complain against the attack.
Khera had told reporters: "Dr Ajoy Kumar sustained facial fracture, very grievous injuries on his face. When he was being taken to the hospital, he was attacked by lathis and the attackers were known faces of the BJP. It is said that this mob was led by a sitting minister of the BJP in Tripura."
A commission statement said: "The report from the state government confirmed that Dr Ajoy Kumar sustained minor injuries in an unlawful rally (incident happened in the area where permission was not given by district authorities) and it is not true that he received serious injuries."
But the commission asked the Tripura government to suspend the subdivisional police officer of Jirania, remove the officers-in-charge of the Rani Bazar and Jirania police stations, and provide security to political leaders according to their threat perception.
The poll panel added: "Chief secretary and director-general of police, Tripura were asked to explain as to why the situation escalated despite a sufficient number of CAPF (central armed police force) personnel deployed in the state. The commission conveyed its displeasure in no uncertain and strongest terms on the violent incident despite the commission's strict directions during visit to the state and thereafter."
CS & DGP were directed to ensure level playing field for all political parties and to initiate strict action against partisan officers."
Retired officers Yogendra Tripathy, Vivek Johri and B. Murali Kumar are being sent as special observers "to take stock of the situation, ensure proper deployment of CAPF, intensify enforcement measures and report back to the commission".
Tripathy retired as Union chemicals and petrochem secretary, Johri as Madhya Pradesh DGP, and Kumar as director-general, income tax.