EC to make independent assessment of law and order in WB

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New Delhi, Jan 13 (PTI) Taking note of unabated politicalviolence in poll-bound West Bengal, Election Commission todaydecided to make an independent assessment of the law and ordersituation in the state.

A team of five senior police officers, led by the ChiefElectoral Officer of Bihar, is being sent to the state to makea first-hand assessment of the situation there, the EC said ina press note.

The team will visit different districts of the stateimmediately and make an on-the-spot assessment and submit areport to the Commission.

The decision to send a team has been taken followingrepresentations from several political parties, who met the ECofficials here and in Kolkata recently, and media reports onthe issue.

"Maintenance of law and order is crucial to the conductof free and fair and peaceful election," it said.

Noting that assembly polls to Tamil Nadu, Kerala, WestBengal, Assam and Puducherry were due by May-June, the EC saidit was taking all necessary measures, including keeping awatch on the law and order situation in these states.

Meanwhile, a report from Kolkata said that a six-memberteam of special EC observers would arrive on Monday.

The report quoting state Home Secretary G D Gautamasaid that the state government, at its meeting with the EClast week, had sought deployment of 800 companies (80000personnel) of central forces during the assembly elections inthe state.

The state has been witnessing a spate of violence in thepast few months, including violence by Maoists and intra-partyclashes between Trinamool Congress and the Left parties. PTIMS ARC

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