Reported by Santosh Jagdev
Bhubaneswar, Apr 10:
Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) Odisha State Convener Nishikant Mohapatra, along with his party workers, met Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) Dr. Mona Sharma today and sought her urgent intervention into alleged police atrocities against AAP candidate in Berhampur Dr Dhanada Kanta Mishra during voting today.
In its memorandum submitted to the CEO, the party said Mishra was subjected to extreme and uncalled for police brutality at booth No 180 & 181 in Jajpur, Parlakhemundi during polling today and sought her urgent attention and action on the matter.
While doing the rounds of the booths within his constituency with a few of his team member this mornings, Dr Mishra found that there was a huge hoarding of the BJD opposite the aforementioned polling booth gate and immediately registered a complaint with the EC Observer, Mohapatra said.
Since the hoarding was yet to be removed when he was returning from the place after some time, Mishra went inside the booth after showing his ID card issued by the Election Commission and complained to the Presiding Officer. The officer responded immediatelyand deputed one of his staff to remove the hoarding.
While Dr Mishra was accompanying the polling staff to the place where the hoarding had been put up, a team of CRPF officials swooped down on him with arms and lathis. They also abused Mishra and his campaign manager Major Priyadarshi Chowdhury without any provocation.
Without listening to the pleadings of Mishra, who showed them his ID card and explained that he was only accompanying the booth officer in the performance of his duty, the police personnel used slang, manhandled him and lathi charged both AAP leaders.
“This is police brutality of the worst kind and a violation of the democratic rights of normal citizens,” Mohapatra said, adding that the CRPF personnel were from 127 CRPF Battalion with their Battalion HQ at Adaba.
Later, when the AAP duo approached IIC, Gajapati Police Station to lodge an FIR, the latter refused to accept the complaint or register an FIR stating that such show of force was necessary to ensure peaceful polling and the CRPF personnel on duty were not aware of the rules and regulations of the Election Commission that an MP candidate was allowed to enter polling booths to check the polling process, he added.
“We are deeply disappointed by this approach by the Government which publicly violates EC guidelines by not ensuring that their hoardings are taken out on time and uses the police forces, including CRPF personnel, to suppress the voice of all other parties to give the ruling party a winning advantage. This is not acceptable in a democratic society,” Mohapatra alleged.
“The party demands a proper investigation into this matter with disciplinary action against the concerned CRPF officers to ensure such brutal unlawful occurrence does not take place in the future,” he said.