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HindustanTimes Tue,02 Sep 2014

Peaceful elections in Sangrur may be an uphill task for police

NEERAJ MOHAN, Hindustan Times   Sangrur, March 13, 2014
First Published: 23:14 IST(13/3/2014) | Last Updated: 10:47 IST(14/3/2014)

Having nearly 42 per cent hypersensitive and sensitive polling stations in the district, maintaining peace during the coming Lok Sabha polls, would be an uphill task for the district police.

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Though, the police were working hard for smooth conduct of the polls in the district, where nearly 14.23 lakh voters would exercise their franchise in 1,241 polling booths at 783 polling stations on April 30, yet regular protests by farmers and employees' unions might divert the attention of the police.

According to police sources, so far 98 polling stations have been declared hypersensitive, and 234 identified as sensitive in the district, that required a regular watch.

No polling station has been identified as hypersensitive in Sangrur and Dhuri assembly segments, but the Muslim-dominated Malerkotla, which has always remained in news for communal riots, protests and feuds, has five hypersensitive polling stations and 39 sensitive polling stations.

According to the police, Malerkotla would require heavy police deployment before and during the polls. 

Similarly, after the recent scuffle between members of Hindu and Kamboj communities in Sunam, the district police have identified 36 hypersensitive polling stations and 39 sensitive polling stations in Sunam segment alone, besides 24 and 27 hypersensitive polling stations in Dirba and Lehra segments, respectively.

Talking to Hindustan Times, Sangrur SSP, Mandeep Singh Sidhu said that preparations to conduct fair and free polls have already started. "Though we have identified sensitive and hypersensitive polling stations in the district, now we are making plans to keep a strict vigil on all activities in these stations", he said, adding that in addition to deployment of paramilitary forces by the Election Commission, extra police personnel would be deployed at hypersensitive and sensitive stations.

However, the last assembly and panchayat polls remained peaceful, but to avert any untoward incident in the Lok Sabha elections, in which Sangrur is likely to witness a direct contest between the ruling Shiromani Akali Dal and Congress, the police have made elaborate arrangements.

"As heavy police force is always required in the sensitive town of Malerkotla, we have already identified sensitive and hypersensitive areas. The police have already removed banners and hoardings from the public places, we are now working to prepare a plan for smooth and riot- free polls in the town", said Malerkotla DSP William Jeji.

Similarly, in riots-prone Sunam subdivision, the police have formed three strategic and 3 surveillance teams to maintain a vigil on all activities in the subdivision.

Sunam DSP Sukhdev Singh said, "We are regularly keeping a close eye on bad elements in the town. We have also prepared a special plan to put a complete check over the supply of drugs and money during the polls."

Of the 234 sensitive stations, the maximum 53 are in Sangrur assembly segment, 36 in Dirba, 35 in Barnala, 27 in Dhuri, 21 in Lehra and 20 in Amargarh, which falls in Fatehgarh Sabhi parliamentary segment.

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