January 19, 2011
Election Commission observers visit trouble spots
Birbhum/Suri/ Shasan; Jan 18: Can you vote peacefully here? Do you get threatened before the polls? Do the police play their role? These were some of the questions posed by the special team of observers of the Election Commission (EC) to house-wives in Chak Aminpur village of Shasan. The team was led by Sudhir Kumar Rakesh, the team leader and Chief Electoral Officer of Bihar and Zaki Ahmed, DIG National Crime Records Bureau. The two EC observers had a closed door meeting with district magistrate Vinod Kumar and police superintendent Rahul Srivastav of North 24-Parganas at Barasat. Then they went to Chak Aminpur in Sashan where they spoke to policemen in a police outpost. When they came out from the Aminpur investigation centre, the local Trinamool leaders met them and brought allegations against Left-backed goons who allegedly unleashed a reign of terror at several villages like Kharibari, Dukhdiya, Dhokra and Sardarhati in Sashan areas. The Trinamool leaders complained that many supporters along with families had been rendered homeless. Sudhir Kumar Rakesh assured them to look into the matter and asked the district officials to make a list of all the people who are still rendered homeless. The two observers also went to Sardarhati and spoke to the family members of Mahananda Sardar, a Trinamool supporter who was killed in a clash during the Durga Puja. They also met with Sadhan Mandal another Trinamool supporter who sustained bullet injuries in the same clash. Sudhir Kumar also spoke to the common people in Sardarhati and wanted to know about the law and order situation. The residents replied him that they used to spend sleepless night as bullets and bombs ruled the area. Elsewhere, EC observers D K Pandey and PRK Naidu were shocked to see at North Bhrahmapur village in Burdwan pictures of bodies of murdered Trinamool leader Dilip Ghosh on January 6. Villagers narrated the story, while women said they were more interested to preserve their lives than cast their votes. The team collected data about the “Harmad” camps and hardcore mafia sponsored by the ruling government from the villagers. The villagers also provided input about police officers who “works for the ruling party” rather than maintaining proper law and order. The team therefore prepared a list of such police officers. In fact, by visiting multiple districts on the same day, the observer team proved that they are on a true fact-finding mission about the pre-poll situation in the state.