ECI clueless; will go by prescribed norms: Police
Srinagar: Election Commission of India (ECI) is clueless about the casting of votes by 500 youth arrested by police in the wake of second phase of Parliamentary elections in Srinagar constituency.
Puzzled by the query Chief Electoral Officer, Umang Narula said he has to check the guidelines.
“Are these detained youth eligible to cast vote. Give me some time I have to check the guidelines,” said Narula.
Meanwhile, Inspector General of Police, Kashmir, Abdul Ghani Mir said police would follow the norms set by ECI for the detained youth.
“Whatever guidelines Election Commission has set for the people who are in jails or in preventive custody for casting their vote will be applied to these 500 youth also. We will follow the procedure,” said Mir.
Police has arrested over 500 youth after terming them ‘trouble mongers’ and ‘stone pelters’, a claim that evoked widespread public outrage across Kashmir valley.
Around 400 youth have been arrested in Central Kashmir alone while police has so far arrested 70 youth in South Kashmir— 25 in Pulwama, 09 in Shopian, 12 in Awantipora, 13 in Kulgam and 11 in Anantnag district.
The chief minister too has passed the buck to Director General of Police and Chief Secretary.
“People should pose this question (on arrests) either to Director General of Police (DGP) or the Chief Secretary. If I talk to officers now, you will accuse me of violating the model code of conduct,” Omar said yesterday.
“At this point the security and law and order of the state is the direct responsibility of the officers who are in turn accountable to the Election Commission,” he added.
Meanwhile, police has justified the arrests for “instilling confidence” among the voters.
In the first phase of the polling in South Kashmir, people observed complete poll boycott. While places like Pulwama, Shopian areas witnessed heavy stone pelting and protests.
As per the law detainees, held under Goondas Act, Cofeposa etc, are eligible to cast postal ballots.
Justice K Chandru, former judge of the Madras high court, says there is a distinct difference that permits detainees to vote, “A detenue (detainee) is neither an accused nor a convict. He is detained only by the orders of a district collector or commissioner of police, on the apprehension that he may commit an offence or disrupt public order if not arrested. The detention order is issued to restrict his movement alone.”