Special EC team arrives in WB to assess law and order

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Kolkata, Jan 16 (PTI) A four-member special ElectionCommission team arrived here today to make an independentassessment of law and order in poll-bound West Bengal, asenior official said.

Four members of a six-member special EC team, led byChief Electoral Officer (CEO) of Bihar Sudhir Kumar Rakesh,arrived here to oversee law and order in the state ahead ofthe Assembly elections, West Bengal Jt CEO Dibyendu Sarkarsaid, adding the remaining two members would arrive latertonight.

The decision to send a fact-finding team was taken bythe EC after representatives of various political parties hadhighlighted the worsening law and order situation in the statein the wake of unabated political violence.

Apart from the Bihar CEO, three other senior policeofficers who arrived included Zaki Ahmed (DIG National CrimeRecord Bureau), P R K Naidu (DIG National Crime Record Bureau)and D K Pandey (ADG Jharkhand).

The remaining two senior police officers V S Reddy(DIG Andhra Pradesh) and P S Rampassi (DIG Orissa), wouldarrive later tonight.

"The team is the eyes and ears of the ECI. It willonly see and hear from different sources and will not speakout. It will only submit its report to the ECI," Sarkar said.

The team may even talk to some political parties.

However, it will finalise its next move only after making afirst-hand assessment of the situation during a videoConference with DMs and SPs tomorrow, he said.

Sarkar also said that the six-member team of observersmay fan out to districts in three groups during its stay inthe state for some time till the assessment was over.

The EC had earlier said in Delhi that the team wouldvisit different districts of the state immediately and make anon-the-spot assessment and submit a report to it.

"Maintenance of law and order is crucial to theconduct of free and fair and peaceful election," the EC hadsaid.

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