Election Commission tightens border surveillance to prevent illegal activities | India News

NEW DELHI: The Election Commission on Wednesday directed all the state/Union territory governments and Central agencies to step up surveillance at inter-state and international borders to curb the illegal movement of cash, liquor, drugs, freebies and explosives, besides calling for sealing of inter-state borders 48 hours prior to polling to prevent bogus voting.
At a meeting with all the state/UT chief secretaries and DGPs/IGPs as well as heads of various Central forces including those engaged in guarding different international borders, the poll panel reviewed the law and order situations in the states/UTs and asked their district machinery to take preemptive measures to address communal tensions based on past experiences.
Emphasising on the need for enhanced coordination and sharing of intelligence among the neighboring states/UTs, EC asked the states/UTs to ensure the diligent deployment of Central armed police forces (CAPFs) in coordination with the CAPF nodal officers, while also arranging logistical support for their movement.
Chief election commissioner Rajiv Kumar, who chaired the meeting along with election commissioners Gyanesh Kumar and Sukhbir Singh Sandhu, in his opening remarks underscored EC’s commitment to ensuring free, fair, peaceful, and inducement-free elections, and called upon all stakeholders to work together seamlessly to uphold the integrity of the electoral process and ensure a level playing field. He directed the states/UTs to ensure that every voter can exercise their franchise without fear or intimidation.
The commission called for joint checking and operations by police, excise, transport, GST and forest department, along with strict vigil along helipads, airports and bus/railway stations. The district machinery were instructed to ensure that all the licensed weapons are deposited and non-bailable warrants executed in a timely manner and preventive action taken against absconders, history sheeters and criminals involved in poll-related offences. States like J&K, Chhattisgarh and Manipur were asked to ensure adequate security cover to political functionaries/ candidates based on threat perception.
Border-guarding forces BSF, Sashastra Seema Bal, Assam Rifles and Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) were instructed by EC to maintain strict vigil along Indo-Bangladesh, Indo-Nepal, Indo-Myanmar, Indo-China border respectively, and the Indian Coast Guard in the coastal areas, to plug any illegal activities.
Assam Rifles, which guards the international border along Manipur that has seen intermittent ethnic tensions for the past several months, was asked to hold regular joint security coordination meetings with the state police and CAPFs deployed there. The ramifications of the ethnic violence on peaceful conduct of elections in Manipur were discussed, with the Commission urging swift action to assist internally-displaced persons. EC also directed for identification of exit and entry points for movement of liquor and cash along the borders and curbing of illegal ganja cultivation in some states.
The Commission reviewed support from Indian Air Force and state civil aviation department for sorties to ferry polling teams in challenging regions of 11 states including Arunachal Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Maharashtra.

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