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regular-article-logo Tuesday, 16 April 2024

Security push for polls, Election Commission deploys 58 companies of central forces in Bengal

This move is an effort to mitigate any kind of escalation of the deterioration of law-and-order situation following the recent chain of events happening in Sandeshkhali and its adjacent districts in Basirhat police district

Saibal Gupta, Pushpa Kumari Sah Calcutta Published 29.02.24, 07:33 AM
Representational image

Representational image File picture

The Election Commission of India has decided to deploy 58 companies of central forces in five districts in and around Calcutta.

The decision to deploy more than one of the total 150 companies of forces that are set to come to the state during the first week of March in two phases is an effort to mitigate any kind of escalation of the deterioration of law-and-order situation following the recent chain of events happening in Sandeshkhali and its adjacent districts in Basirhat police district.

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The decision regarding the deployment of forces as part of the confidence-building measure was taken at a meeting with CEO Ariz Aftab, attended by the DEOs of North and South Calcutta, along with the DMs and SPs of North and South 24-Parganas, and the IG of CRPF.

In the elections, the CRPF will be the nodal agency regarding the deployment of forces in the state.

According to sources in the commission, North 24-Parganas is slated to experience the highest deployment with 18 companies of central forces. Among these, five companies will be stationed in the Basirhat police district. Additionally, there will be six companies deployed in the Barrackpore police district, four companies in the Bidhannagar police Commissionerate, and three companies in the Barasat police district.

The deployment for North 24-Parganas is significant because Sandeshkhali falls in the district and has been witnessing unrest over the alleged landgrab, atrocities and sexual assault by absconding Trinamul strongman Sheikh Shahjahan and his aides Though two of his aides Shib Prasad Hazra and Uttam Sardar have been arrested, Shahjahan is still at large.

A source in the EC said that the deployment had been strategically planned to ensure that the law and order in the troubled zone did not spiral out of control.

“The 150 companies of central forces will come in two phases. Initially, 100 companies of forces will come on March 1 and another 50 companies on March 7. We have assessed the ground situation of all the 35 police districts of the state and after that, the deployment plan has been designed,” a senior official of the CEO’s office said.

In addition to North 24-Parganas, South 24-Parganas will witness the deployment of 12 companies of forces. This allocation includes three companies each in Bongaon, Baruipur, Diamond Harbour, and Sunderbans police districts. Furthermore, Calcutta will have 10 companies, while Hooghly and Howrah districts will have nine companies each.

In Hooghly, five companies are designated for Chandernagore police commissionerate, and the remaining four companies will be deployed in the rest of the district. Similarly, Howrah police commissionerate will receive five companies of central forces, with an additional four companies designated for the rest of the district.

“The deployment of forces before the announcement of the polls is a part of the confidence-building measure. The respective district magistrates and superintendents have been asked to coordinate with the nodal agency to finalise the deployment of forces,” the official said.

Meanwhile, leader of the Opposition, Suvendu Adhikari, met Afatab and alleged that they had identified more than 16 lakh fake voters.

"We have submitted a document of 14,267 pages containing a list of 16.9, 121 voters whose names have been manipulated in the voter list of 42 parliamentary constituencies in the state. We will inform this when the full bench comes,” Adhikari said.

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