R E G I O N: Shoot-on-sight orders to keep peace in Bihar polls (India)


Bihar, with 80 million people, is India's second largest state after Uttar Pradesh and is plagued by a volatile mix of caste violence and poverty. "Over 600 companies of paramilitary forces are being used and there is red alert in all Maoist-infested areas," the state chief secretary GS Kang told reporters on Monday night. "The police and paramilitary forces have already done combing operations in the sensitive pockets and possible troublemakers have already been marginalised," he said. Indian Air Force helicopters were patrolling the skies while police, using mine detectors and sniffer dogs, maintained security on the ground.


(20.10.2005)

90,000 police and paramilitary forces deployed to fight vote rigging and violence

Police were told to shoot troublemakers amid a security crackdown during polling on Tuesday for Bihar assembly elections, the second bid this year to break the political deadlock in India's most lawless state.

The orders were issued after unidentified gunmen shot dead a youth in Nawada district, 125 kilometres south of the state capital Patna before voting started, police said. "Cops have been ordered to shoot-at-sight the troublemakers who attempt to disturb peace," said AR Sinha, state director general of police.

Some 90,000 police, paramilitary and other personnel have been deployed to fight vote rigging and violence in the four-phase elections. Maoist rebels, who stage regular bloody attacks on government officials, called a boycott and threatened to disrupt the polls in all 57 constituencies voting on Tuesday, but there were no further reports of violence by midday.

As in the first election last February, the polls have been staggered to try to keep law and order problems to a minimum in a state infamous for fraud and intimidation. Policemen in riot gear stood guard as voters queued up outside stations which opened at 7:30 am (0200 GMT) in the first phase of the election. However, problems were reported with electronic voting machines in four of the 12 districts polling on Tuesday, election officials said, describing morning turnout as 'sluggish'.

The first phase involves 12 million electors, out of a 52 million eligible state-wide and more than 500 candidates. Three more rounds are scheduled to follow on October 28, November 13 and November 19, with the results due on November 22.

Bihar, with 80 million people, is India's second largest state after Uttar Pradesh and is plagued by a volatile mix of caste violence and poverty. "Over 600 companies of paramilitary forces are being used and there is red alert in all Maoist-infested areas," the state chief secretary GS Kang told reporters on Monday night. "The police and paramilitary forces have already done combing operations in the sensitive pockets and possible troublemakers have already been marginalised," he said. Indian Air Force helicopters were patrolling the skies while police, using mine detectors and sniffer dogs, maintained security on the ground.

Federal railways minister Laloo Prasad Yadav and his regional Rashtriya Janata Dal party are in danger of losing power in Bihar after 15 years at the helm.

Yadav is up against his cabinet colleague Ram Vilas Paswan, who is also part of India's ruling coalition - the United Progressive Alliance. The main opposition National Democratic Alliance's chief ministerial candidate and former railways minister Nitish Kumar also enjoys a strong following in the state.

Polls in February ended with a hung assembly and Bihar was put under a federally-appointed governor. Ten people were killed during the elections, despite extensive security measures. Yadav, a wisecracking son of a cow herder, enjoys populist appeal but is embroiled in corruption allegations. The 57-year-old engineered the election of his wife, Rabri Devi, as chief minister five years ago after he was charged with corruption in an animal feed scam that is still before the courts.

Von: 19 October 2005, http://www.dailytimes.com.pk

<<< zurück zu: News