Well ahead of the by-election to the Assembly from Yercaud constituency, Salem Police (Rural) have begun taking written undertakings of good conduct from habitual offenders.

Superintendent of Police R. Sakthivel told The Hindu that provisions of the Criminal Procedure Code have been invoked in respect of 131 persons residing in villages covered under Yercaud Assembly constituency and the process began on the day the by-poll was notified. They have signed a stamp paper before the Revenue Divisional Officer (RDO) stating that they would ensure good conduct and it binds them over for a period of one year. “More persons have been identified for this,” he added.

Fourteen history-sheeters, including habitual offenders and those who had committed grave crimes and arrested in the past were remanded on Sunday. Mr Sakthivel added that the arrests were precautionary measures to avoid any untoward incidents ahead of the polls. He said the police had also arrested 35 persons against whom non-bailable warrants (NBW) were issued in crime cases and who were absconding and failed to appear in court for trials.

 Of 1,540 licensed fire-arm holders in the rural district, he said 1,510 have surrendered their firearms in the respective police station and steps are being taken to collect the remaining 30 firearms, he added. Police stations in Salem City have also started taking guns from licensed fire-arm holders.

Commissioner of City Police K.C. Mahali said the police had brought in three new check posts, two at Ayothiyapattinam and one near Arabic College, to check illegal movement of guns, explosives and other arms and ammunition.

In a bid to identify the status of sensitive and hyper-sensitive polling booths, the police have started a three-phase screening programme.

Yercaud Assembly constituency has 290 booths in 120 polling stations under six police stations, that is, Vazhapadi, Ethapur, Karipatti, Veeranam, Yercaud and Karumanthurai. Police said that 110 of those booths (38 percent) were identified as sensitive and hypersensitive during the Assembly Election in 2011.

The list is being reviewed in the ongoing three stage screening programme. Process will be completed by Wednesday.

The list will be submitted to the district administration and election officials, who would finalise it in about a week and necessary efforts to reduce the sensitivity in those booths, would then be formulated, the official said. However, they added that the sensitivity of booths would be a fluctuating factor as parties announce their candidates and it would continue till polling.

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