Election Commission orders re-polling in 11 Manipur booths on April 22

The booths are located in five Assembly segments of Inner Manipur; presiding officers reported incidents of mob violence, gunfire and EVMs destroyed during the election on April 19

Updated - April 21, 2024 07:52 am IST

Published - April 20, 2024 09:59 pm IST - NEW DELHI

A polling booth in Moirangkampu Sajeb Awang Leikai of Imphal, which came under attack by miscreants on April 19, 2024.

A polling booth in Moirangkampu Sajeb Awang Leikai of Imphal, which came under attack by miscreants on April 19, 2024. | Photo Credit: ANI

The Election Commission of India has declared void the polling conducted at 11 booths across five Assembly segments in Inner Manipur on April 19, with presiding officers reporting mob violence, gunfire and destroyed Electronic Voting Machines in some booths.

The ECI has announced that a re-poll will be conducted at these booths between 7 a.m. and 5 p.m. on April 22, the Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) of Manipur said in a statement late on April 20.

These 11 polling stations are located in the Khurai, Thongju, Uripok, Konthoujam, and Kshetrigao Assembly constituencies, the Office of the CEO added.

Mob violence, gunfire

On April 19, the Office of the CEO wrote to the Election Commission of India (ECI), pointing out that at least six of these polling stations saw instances of mob violence, riots, and unidentified men casting votes on behalf of voters. Because of these incidents, the polling in these booths had been vitiated to a point that results from there cannot be ascertained, it said.

Reports were submitted by the presiding officers of these polling stations, including the one at Moirangkampu Sejab Primary School in Imphal, where a re-poll has been recommended due to “mob violence”. On the night of April 19, the Manipur Police said it arrested three people near the school after an exchange of gunfire that had injured at least one person. 

Poll officials in Manipur also reported that a group of unidentified persons had entered the polling station at Khaidem Makha, also in Imphal, and cast 61 votes without following due procedure. Mob violence followed the incident, but security forces rescued the Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) there. 

EVMs destroyed

However, in three polling stations at the Iroisemba Upper Primary School, EVMs were destroyed in mob violence as members of the public “overpowered the security personnel”. The presiding officers’ reports added that in another polling station in Imphal’s Khongman Zone, a re-poll has been recommended “due to riots”.

The Manipur Pradesh Congress Committee had complained of instances of disturbances, violence, intimidation, and booth capturing in as many as 47 polling booths spread across 12 Assembly segments, 11 of which were in the Inner Manipur Lok Sabha constituency.

Outer Manipur complaints unverified

The Congress also alleged such instances at 11 polling stations in the Sugnu area in the Outer Manipur constituency. However, sources said that the concerned poll officials had not been able to verify this. 

The first phase of voting in Manipur on April 19 was marred by reports of gunfire, mob violence, and armed men roaming around polling stations in the presence of security personnel, with many voters also complaining of intimidation. 

All of Inner Manipur and certain parts of Outer Manipur voted on April 19. The remaining parts of Outer Manipur will vote in the second phase on April 26.

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