Govt. tightens security in Odisha ahead of Lok Sabha polls
With a few days left before the general elections, government officials have beefed up security in Odisha to ensure peaceful polls, as paramilitary forces were working round the clock to set up operations to tackle possible Maoist threats.
In the Malkangiri district, Maoist rebels appeared to have inscribed threatening slogans on the school walls and other voting centres, trying to dissuade people from stepping out of their houses on the day of the poll.
However Deputy Superintendent of Police, Pramod Kumar Bagh, said that security had been tightened to ensure safety of voters and peaceful polling.
"We have made all security arrangements in Malkangiri considering the upcoming polls. Other than Malkangiri police, we also have centrally aided forces, and we are trying our best to ensure peaceful polls," Bagh said.
Some candidates reportedly withdrew from the Malkangiri district, saying the risks were too high in campaigning in the region.
Voters also said to have been threatened and asked to vote for Maoist-approved candidates.
Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) candidate from Malkangiri, Sarat Buruda, said that few cut off areas were still dangerous despite security measures.
"Police dominance has been good in Odisha but there are few cut off areas where we need to be careful," said Buruda.
Panic among the voters seems to be apparent in Maoist hotbeds.
Earlier in March, voter Sarat Majhi, complained of lack of security measures as well as basic amenities in such inaccessible belts.
"We are staying in this inaccessible and Maoist hit area deprived of all the basic amenities. We have no option; we cast our votes every time but did not see any result till date. We appeal for help to the government to initiate developments in these areas," said Majhi.
The district is considered as red rebel area of the province.
(Posted on 06-04-2014)