Section 17 of CrPC to be used to mark known troublemakers

An unprecedented security blanket over the district, along with the rare posting of one Deputy Superintendent of Police with 100 armed men just for the sensitive Kainakary region in Kuttanad, will mark the polls here on April 13.

Addressing a press conference here on Thursday, District Collector and Election Officer P. Venugopal said about 3,141 policemen, including about 500 armed policemen, would be posted across the district. This would include two companies of Home Guards, one of them from Maharashtra.

Apart from this, there would be 113 patrol groups, 10 DYSPs and 21 Circle Inspectors to monitor the 1,469 booths, including 266 that were categorised as sensitive. Sixty of these, mostly in the Kuttanad region, were hyper-sensitive, prompting the posting of one DYSP along with a company of 100 armed personnel exclusively for security in Kainakary, which has for almost every poll in the past witnessed violence in one form or the other.

Plans were also afoot to install webcams in the 60 hyper-sensitive booths, with live web-casting arrangements to be made so that the Election authorities and the State or Central Election Commission officials could directly view live proceedings in these booths over the Internet.

The polls this time would also be marked by the use of Section 107 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC), which, the Collector said, was one of the most stringent sections used in situations to mark in advance persons who were known troublemakers. Those booked under this section would have to execute two surety bonds of Rs.25,000 each before a sub-divisional magistrate along with two witnesses, and if he was involved in any sort of trouble, he could be arrested immediately and his sureties would be taken by the government. They would also have a permanent black mark on them in government records, making “life extremely difficult for them,” he added.

District Superintendent of Police P.G. Ashok Kumar said 486 persons with past criminal records had already been booked under Section 107 in connection with the polls. These included those involved in the attack on a presiding officer at Mararikulam during the recent civic body polls.

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