Gun-toting Paramilitary Forces keep hawk’s eye on check-posts

Mysuru:  Armed Paramilitary Forces have begun their activities in poll-bound Karnataka and considering Mysuru that will witness high-pitched political battle, troops have literally surrounded the critical Constituencies that are part of this district — Chamundeshwari, Varuna, Krishnaraja, Chamaraja and Narasimharaja.

Apart from conducting route march and flag marches, the forces are active at all entry and exit points of Mysuru – Bannur Road, Nanjangud Road, T. Narasipur Road, Hunsur Road, Bogadi Road, Columbia Asia Hospital Junction and Kalasthawadi on the Mysuru-Bengaluru Road and KRS Road.

They are stopping each and every vehicle and sometimes KSRTC buses too to check whether money, gold, liquor and freebies are being transported to entice voters.

Dressed in neatly pressed uniforms, complete with Military fatigues holding AK-47s and Light Machine Guns, these forces have been entrusted with the responsibility of maintaining peace during elections and the strict implementation of democratic principles for a free and fair election.  

Special check-posts have been established where over five to six gun-toting members of the Paramilitary Forces are guarding them and are assisting the Police and the election officer who has been appointed by the District Electoral Officer. One cameraman films the entire election process and one member of the Force enters the vehicle details in the ledger.

If any electoral malpractice is discovered or if any materials are seized, the Forces immediately inform the Election Commission through the designated officers.

Normally, Paramilitary forces arrive at a place of election three or four days before the voting date. This time, however, considering the sensitiveness of Mysuru district, forces have come a month in advance. They have been sent by the Election Commission of India and will coordinate with the State Election authorities and the local Police.

Among the duties of the Paramilitary Forces is to stop voter enticement, curb the campaigns by political parties against a particular religion, race and caste, etc. They must monitor the use of vehicles for election purposes and prevent parties from transporting voters to the polling booths.

The Forces arrive in advance for area domination and take out flag marches, point patrolling and other confidence-building activities. They are provided with area-wise list of anti-social elements to undertake spot verification (of their whereabouts, presence and activities). They also interact with local population with a view to enhance the public confidence.

On the polling day and after the polling, the forces guard polling stations, poll materials, poll personnel and the poll process. Patrolling duty is done on assigned routes by flying squads and escort the equipment used for elections like the Electronic Voting Machines and the Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) units.

The Forces are responsible for maintenance of the general law and order, prevent illegal movement of cash, liquor, drugs, anti-social elements, etc. implement Model Code of Conduct and implement election expenditure monitoring system.

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