EC to use copters in Naxal-hit areas of Chhattisgarh

The EC will be employing choppers and mine detectors in the Naxal-infested areas of Chhattisgarh to ensure free and fair polls.

india Updated: Nov 29, 2003 14:33 IST

Amid stepped up Naxal activities and their call for boycott of the December 1assembly polls in Chhattisgarh, the Election Commission would be employing choppers, night-vision devices and mine detectors in the Naxal-infested areas to ensure fearless elections.

The commission would take all possible assistance, including over a dozen helicopters and the central paramilitary forces to conduct a free and fair poll in the state since there is a presence of banned outfits MCC and PWG in nearly 40per cent of the total geographical area of the state, state election office sources said.

In view of the Naxalites' boycott call, the borders of the state with adjoining Maharashtra,Andhra Pradesh, Orissa, Jharkhand and Madhya Pradesh would be sealed before the polls to prevent influx of ultras, sources said.

Nearly 180 companies of paramilitary forces would be deployed in the state, including in the 65 sensitive areas of the tribal belt, sources added.

After Chief Election Commissioner JM Lyngdoh directed the chief secretary and the director general of police of the state to personally visit the Naxalite-infested districts and make the security plan accordingly, it has been decided to use helicopters for carrying the polling parties to the interior hyper-sensitive areas and also to provide security to voters, they said.

In the run up to the elections, as many as 17 encounters with Naxalites have taken place, killing eight security personnel, one civilian and four Naxalites, chief electoral officer (Chhattisgarh) KK Chakravorty told reporters.

A huge cache of arms and ammunition have also been seized by the security agencies, he informed adding the paramilitary forces have already reached many sensitive areas to secure the zone for polling staff.

Chakravorty also said as many as 371 complaints of violation of model code of conduct have been received by the commission, besides 65 against government employees and 26 against police personnel.

First Published: Nov 29, 2003 10:56 IST