Centre sanctions addl security forces for Meghalaya polls

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Shillong, Jan 22 (UNI) At least 40 to 45 companies of additional central paramilitary forces will be deployed for the smooth conduct of March three Assembly polls in Meghalaya.

The counting for a single-phase polls for the 60-member Assembly will be held on March seven.

The Centre's decision to sanction additional central paramilitary forces to the state was taken during the high-level security meeting held at New Delhi yesterday.

The meeting, attended by Chief Election Commissioner N Gopalaswami, Home Ministry, Chief Electoral Officers of Meghalaya, Tripura and Nagaland at New Delhi finalised the allocation of additional forces ''We are likely to get the more than 40 companies to assist the state police for the polls,'' Inspector General of Police S B Singh said.

Earlier, Chief Minister D D Lapang wrote to Union Home Minister Shivraj Patil, urging him to sanctioned 45 additional companies of paramilitary for smooth conduct of the polls.

''There was a need to take adequate precautions to ensure that there was no disruption (of peace) by inimical forces from neighbouring state of Assam, and other organisations of the north eastern states,'' Mr Lapang said.

The District Magistrates of all seven districts in the state imposed prohibitory orders under Section 144 Cr PC prohibiting carrying of arms by public to ensure peaceful elections.

There are 60 Assembly Constituency seats out of which 55 seats are reserved for the Scheduled Tribes.

A fortnight ago, the government had asked the proscribed A'chik National Volunteers' Council (ANVC) not to interfere or get involved directly or indirectly during the Assembly polls.

The ANVC, which signed a tripartite agreement on July 23, 2004, with the Centre and state government to suspend armed operations and extortions, had assured the government to restrain its cadres from getting involved during the polls.

The filing of nomination papers would start from February eight to 15. The last date for withdrawal of nomination is February 18.

The current term of the Meghalaya Assembly ends on March 10.

UNI RRK PP DB1528

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