EVMs destroyed, firing, bogus voting; 3 arrested in Manipur.

EVMs destroyed, firing, bogus voting; 3 arrested in Manipur.

EVMs destroyed, firing, bogus voting; 3 arrested in Manipur.

On Friday, Manipur witnessed a robust voter turnout exceeding 68% in both Lok Sabha constituencies, namely Inner Manipur and Outer Manipur. The significant participation of voters underscores the state’s active engagement in the democratic process during the elections.

The polling day in Manipur, particularly in Imphal, was marred by several incidents of violence and disruptions, casting a shadow over the democratic process. Reports emerged of firing at a polling booth, destruction of Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs), and instances of bogus voting, painting a grim picture of electoral integrity. The incidents left four individuals injured, further exacerbating tensions on an already volatile day.

In Khaidem, Imphal West, disturbing visuals captured individuals breaking an EVM amidst allegations of proxy voting by an armed group on behalf of nearly 100 individuals. Amidst the chaos, Bimol Akoijam, the Congress candidate for Inner Manipur, intervened at the polling booth, attempting to restore order and ensure the integrity of the electoral process.

Despite the turmoil, Manipur recorded a turnout of 68% as voting concluded at 4 pm across the Inner Manipur and Outer Manipur Lok Sabha constituencies. However, the high turnout belied the underlying unrest and discontent simmering within certain communities.

In several Inner Manipur booths, allegations and counter-allegations emerged regarding the prevention of voters from casting their ballots. Reports surfaced from Sungu, where a person was allegedly thrashed by BJP leaders and barred from voting, highlighting the intense political rivalries and confrontations witnessed on the ground.

Moreover, there were disturbing reports of Meitie activists preventing and threatening individuals against exercising their right to vote, further deepening the climate of fear and intimidation surrounding the electoral process.

The destruction of EVMs emerged as a recurrent theme throughout the polling day, with multiple incidents reported across various polling stations in Imphal. Locations such as Bamon Kampu in Kshetrigao assembly constituency, Sekmaijin Khunao Mamang in Kakching, Thongju assembly constituency in Imphal East, Iroishemba Mamang Leikai and Uripok assembly constituency in Imphal West, Khongman Zone-V in Thongju assembly constituency, and S Ibobi Primary School in Khurai Thongam Leikai under Khurai assembly constituency bore witness to the vandalization of voting equipment, as reported by NDTV.

The rampant destruction of EVMs not only undermined the electoral process but also eroded public trust in the fairness and transparency of the elections. Such brazen acts of sabotage underscored the urgent need for enhanced security measures and vigilance to safeguard the sanctity of the electoral process.

The incidents of violence and disruptions in Manipur’s polling day serve as a stark reminder of the challenges confronting the democratic process in certain regions. The prevalence of intimidation tactics, proxy voting, and physical confrontations highlights the vulnerabilities inherent in electoral exercises, necessitating concerted efforts to uphold democratic principles and ensure the integrity of future elections.

As authorities investigate the reported incidents and work to address the grievances of affected communities, it is imperative to reaffirm the commitment to free, fair, and peaceful elections. The resilience and determination of Manipur’s electorate in the face of adversity underscore the enduring strength of democracy, even in the midst of turmoil and uncertainty.

The electoral process in Manipur was marred by a series of violent incidents, further escalating tensions and threatening the safety of voters and polling officials alike. Two individuals, K Johnson and Sorokhaibam Sunil, fell victim to assault at the Arapati Maning polling station under the Keirao assembly constituency in Imphal East. Subsequently, they were rushed to Amina Hospital in Lilong for urgent medical attention, underscoring the severity of the attacks.

In a separate and equally alarming incident, a group of unidentified assailants arrived at the Moirang Kampu Primary School polling station in a white Fortuner SUV. Without warning, they unleashed a hail of gunfire, leaving one person, Koisnam Sanayaima, wounded by a bullet. The brazen attack sent shockwaves through the community, highlighting the volatility and unpredictability of the electoral environment.

Similarly, chaos ensued at the Wangoo polling station in Kakching, where unidentified individuals opened fire, sparking panic among voters and officials present at the site. The indiscriminate shooting further exacerbated tensions, disrupting the electoral process and jeopardizing the safety of all those in attendance.

In yet another instance of violence, unidentified perpetrators unleashed a barrage of gunfire at the Thamnapokpi polling station under the Moirang assembly constituency in Bishnupur. The sustained gunfire, totaling nearly 30 rounds, instilled fear and apprehension among voters, raising concerns about the integrity and security of the polling process.

The series of violent incidents underscored the grave challenges facing Manipur’s electoral landscape, where the specter of intimidation and violence loomed large over the democratic process. Such brazen acts of aggression not only endangered the lives of innocent individuals but also eroded public trust in the electoral machinery and the ability of authorities to maintain law and order.

In the aftermath of these disturbing events, it is imperative for authorities to launch a thorough investigation to apprehend the perpetrators and hold them accountable for their actions. Additionally, measures must be implemented to bolster security and ensure the safety of voters and polling personnel in future elections.

The incidents serve as a sobering reminder of the importance of upholding the principles of democracy and safeguarding the fundamental rights of citizens to participate in free, fair, and peaceful elections. As Manipur grapples with the aftermath of these violent episodes, concerted efforts must be made to restore confidence in the electoral process and foster an environment conducive to democratic expression and participation.

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