Itanagar, April 30, 2019:
The Nyishi Elite Society (NES) has described 2019 simultaneous elections in the state as the “darkest” elections ever held in the history of Arunachal Pradesh and blamed “inept and callous” handling of the election process by the authorities concerned for the large-scale violence, particularly in Kurung Kumey and Kra Daadi districts.
“In the electoral history of Arunachal Pradesh, the state has never witnessed such large-scale violence before,” the NES said in a press statement.
It said “violence on the day of polling on 11 April led to re-polling at six polling booths in the Palin constituency, three each in Nyapin and Tali constituencies, and six in Koloriang constituency on 27 April, besides the re-polling at 19 polling stations in eight districts, which were held on 20 April”.
“Insufficient security arrangement at the re-polling stations and surrounding areas led to the loss of a precious life,” the NES said, referring to the death of Pakpu village gaon burah Bengia Tamang near the Taba polling station under Damin administrative circle of Kurung Kumey district prior to the re-poll on 25 April.
“Despite strict directives from the Chief Election Commission of India to take all necessary and adequate measures to ensure safety and security of voters, polling personnel and the materials and maintain law and order situation for free, fair and transparent fresh poll and prohibition of movement of people from other polling stations in the re-polling station, the security arrangement in the re-polling stations and surrounding areas were not up to mark,” the NES claimed.
The NES said that the Jartam, Paachang and Rowa hanging bridges over the Kurung river, Nyobia circle of Kurung Kumey district, and Sepa, Sanglum, Siyo and Tri-Tra hanging bridges over the Kumey river in Tali circle snapped because of which genuine voters were deprived of their right to vote. The organization further condemned the violation of the prohibitory order restricting the movement of people from other polling stations to the re-polling stations, which led to law and order problems in those areas.
The NES demanded that the culprits involved in the killing of Tamang and destruction of the bridges and other means of communication must be brought to book.
It also expressed surprise over the possession of huge caches of arms and ammunition by private individuals while the model code of conduct is in force.
“The huge inflow of unlicensed arms, ranging from small to sophisticated ones, is a big threat to the peace and tranquility of the state,” the NES said.
It urged the administrations to initiate foolproof measures to combat the antisocial elements in the ongoing elections, and demanded thorough inquiry and punishment for the culprits, besides stopping those who try to escalate the situation further.
“Gun culture, shooting spree and cold-blooded killing of people, which were unknown in the past, has created the darkest history in the electoral system in 2019 in the state,” it said.
The NES further condemned the cash for votes and other gratifications.
While commending the sensible peace initiative of the Bengia Welfare Society, the NES appealed to all sections of the society, particularly the contesting candidates and the political parties, to contribute meaningfully for the restoration of peace and tranquility in the districts.
“The onus is on the administrations to combat the historic large-scale election-related violence to prove their efficiency and to regain the trust and confidence of the people,” the NES said and expressed apprehension that violence may further escalate if the government does not act prudently.