Special Correspondent

Polling stopped at a booth following detection of bogus voting

Mob tried to assault a Central Observer

Re-polling to be conducted again at Gotada

JAIPUR: One person was killed and four were injured when the police opened fire on a violent mob trying to assault a Central Election Observer at Gotada in Dausa district of Rajasthan during re-polling for the Lok Sabha elections on Sunday.

The crowd, comprising mainly members of the Meena community, pelted stones and did not allow Central Election Observer Rajesh Kumar Mishra and the polling party to leave after the voting was stopped at the Gotada polling booth, falling in the Sikrai Assembly constituency of Dausa Lok Sabha seat, following the detection of bogus voting. The unruly mob allegedly attacked Mr. Mishra with the intention of killing him.

With the situation going out of control, the police opened fire on the mob, killing 18-year-old Jaikishan on the spot and injuring four others. Three of the injured were rushed in a serious condition to Sawai Man Singh Hosptial in Jaipur, while one was admitted to the Dausa Government Hospital.

According to the police sources, about a dozen policemen were injured in stone-pelting by the crowd. Mr. Mishra had objected to the production of ration cards as an identity proof by the voters and ordered the voting to be stopped while observing that the Election Commission’s norms did not allow the use of these cards for identification.

The incident led to panic and fear in entire Dausa district adjacent to the State Capital, as the youths belonging to the dominant Meena community forcibly closed the markets. Veteran Meena leader Kirorilal Meena, contesting the elections as an Independent, staged a dharna along with Jaikishan’s body and hundreds of his supporters outside the District Collectorate with the demand for action against those responsible for police firing.

Reports reaching here said the crowd at the dharna site along the Jaipur-Agra national highway was surging in the late evening. Mr. Meena has demanded registration of criminal cases against the Election Observer and Superintendent of Police, suspension of police officers who ordered firing and grant of financial assistance worth Rs. 20 lakh to the next of kin of the deceased.

With stray incidents of damage to shops and kiosks reported from the town, heavy police force, including the Special Task Force, has been deployed in and around Dausa, Gotada and Sikrai.

Re-polling was largely peaceful at 59 other polling stations situated across 10 Lok Sabha constituencies in the State, with an average of 66.58 per cent of voters exercising their franchise. One person was injured at Baswa in Sawai Madhopur district in a clash between the supporters of two rival candidates.

An Election Department spokesperson said re-polling would be conducted again at Gotada.

The highest number of 21 polling booths that went to the re-poll were situated in Tonk-Sawai Madhopur constituency, followed by 14 in Dausa, eight in Pali, six in Alwar, three in Karauli-Dholpur, two each in Bharatpur, Jhalawar-Baran and Jaipur Rural and one each in Rajsamand and Barmer.

The polling stations included Olwara in Sawai Madhopur district where one person was killed in firing by the security personnel to prevent an attempt for booth capturing during the May 7 polling.

At the Bhaglai polling booth in Dausa district, six Dalits were injured in a violent attack by the people belonging to a dominant caste on the polling day.