Chhattisgarh: Police asked to sanitise poll booths amid Naxal threat

Raipur, Nov 10: With the Naxal-hit Bastar region going for Assembly polls on Monday, security forces have been directed to sanitise school buildings and other premises to be used for polling in hyper-sensitive areas.

The other precautionary orders given to security forces, particularly to those who have arrived from other states for conducting polls, are not to venture in the forest areas in search of mobile phone signals and to go to washrooms with security cover, a senior police official said on condition of anonymity.

Maoists can take advantage of such a situation to launch an attack on police personnel, as they have did in the past, he said. Security forces have been strictly instructed to conduct de-mining exercise inside school premises being used for polling before entering there, the official said.

"Not only the ground but walls and blackboards in schools are also to be checked as Intelligence Bureau has tipped off that IEDs could be planted anywhere," he said. Several other general instructions are also issued to them as a precautionary measure, he said.

The paramilitary personnel, who have arrived from other states, are not very well versed in counter-insurgency operations and unaware of the critical situation in the Maoist-hotbed of Bastar. Therefore, such instructions are required, he said.

As many as 18 constituencies of Naxal-affected Bastar region and Rajnandgaon district will go to polls in the first phase of state Assembly elections tomorrow.

Taking a serious note of the Maoists threat, over a lakh security personnel have been deployed for conducting peaceful polling in the region.

Over a lakh security personnel have been deployed for conducting fair polling.

A total of 4,142 polling booths have been set up for the first phase, of which 1,517 are sensitive and 1,311 are hyper-sensitive.

Meanwhile, as many as 167 polling stations in hyper sensitive areas have been relocated due to security and accessibility reasons. Helicopters have been pressed into service for air-lifting EVMs, polling personnel and polling material before and after the election at the Naxal-affected 192 polling booths located in remote areas.

All polling parties would reach their destination by tomorrow. As many as 2,700 cameras have been installed at polling stations to prevent bogus voting and monitor the voting process.

An air ambulance will also be stationed at Raipur for providing medical facility in case of any eventuality during polls.


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