Dalit groups set up control room for polls

Also identify sensitive booths where extra police force may be required

April 21, 2019 01:01 am | Updated 01:01 am IST - JAIPUR

Dalit groups in Rajasthan have set up a control room — Dalit Election Watch — to monitor the incidents of violence and intimidation during the Lok Sabha election and ensure that Dalits, women, poor and marginalised sections exercise their franchise without fear. The complaints received at the centre will be forwarded to the authorities for appropriate action.

The Centre for Dalit Rights has also identified sensitive booths in the Lok Sabha constituencies across the State where the deployment of additional police force is required to ensure free and fair polling. CDR chief executive P.L. Mimroth said here earlier this week that the control room had started functioning round-the-clock.

“The complaints received during the previous elections had revealed that Dalits were not allowed to cast their votes or were forced to cast votes in favour of a particular candidate, party or caste at several places,” said Mr. Mimorth, a Supreme Court lawyer. Dalits and women were apprehensive about violence in the “highly charged” atmosphere this time, he added.

Creating awareness

A similar control room established during the 2014 Lok Sabha election had received over 80 complaints.

In an attempt to generate awareness among the Dalit communities about their voting rights, the CDR has printed and distributed handbills and widely publicised the establishment of control room in Jaipur’s Gopalpura locality.

Mr. Mimroth said the CDR had written to the police with the request to take the wanted criminals and anti-social elements into preventive custody, seize unlicensed weapons and ask the licensed weapon holders to deposit their arms and ammunition with the police before the two-phase polling in the State to create an atmosphere free of fear and violence.

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