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Unprecedented security to Election Commission as fears of communal clashes, Maoist attacks looms large

Wednesday, 26 February 2014 - 6:00am IST | Place: New Delhi | Agency: dna

Anticipating communal clashes and heavy violence by Maoists, particularly aimed at politicians, the Centre has agreed to provide an unprecedented two lakh armed security personnel to the Election Commission for smooth conduct of 2014 Lok Sabha elections.

In 2009 general elections, the Election Commission had deployed 1.2 lakh armed forces personnel.

Of the two lakh armed personnel, 1.75 lakh will be drawn from the central paramilitary forces (CRPFs) and about 25,000 from the state armed police forces. In addition, police forces from the state will also supplement the formidable presence of armed security forces, home ministry sources said.

However, factoring in the lurking threat of communal clashes in UP, Bihar, Karnataka, Rajashtan and Madhya Pradesh and the Naxal violence coming via intelligence inputs, the Election Commission is wants to increase the deployment of armed security forces to 2.4 lakh, double the last elections, and has requisitioned 40,000 central paramilitary personnel, over and above the 1.75 lakh already committed by the union home ministry.

In 2004 and 2009 general elections, the six Naxal-affected states had accounted for 108 and 124 violent incidents and 9 and 24 deaths respectively. Security officials fear the figure can go much higher this time.

The main focus area for security presence, sources said, will be 33 worst Maoist violence-affected districts that have been designated as 'A'. Of these, 13 are in Jharkhand, eight in Chhattisgarh, five in Bihar, four in Odisha, two in Andhra Pradesh and one in Maharashtra.

In 2013, these 33 districts, spread over in six states, accounted for 1,000 violent incidents in which 377 security personnel and civilians lost their lives.

Sources said that in addition to the 90,000 already deployed CPMFs, in Naxal-affected staes, about 700 more companies of CPMFs, translating into 70,000 personnel, will be deployed in the Naxal-affected districts, thus taking the total presence to a formidable strength of 1.6 lakh.

Security forces officials say, the Maoists have chosen election time to carry out spectacular attacks to instil faith back in their cadres that have taken a severe beating at the hands of security forces also by way of surrender of several of their top commanders.

"We fear that the condition would be quiet serious in Jharkhand as the political leadership there cannot be trusted and may indulge in taking the help of Maoists during elections," a senior security official said.

An intelligence note states that on the military front, the outfit has identified targets among political leaders, particularly of Congress, BJP and Jharkhand Vikas Morcha. Their plan includes targeting of vehicles engaged in electioneering, selective elimination (like Jiramghati massacre) and abduction of political leaders.

To get over the fatigue of tough election duty, the union home ministry has requested the Election Commission to conduct polls in the Naxal-affected states in the first phase of the six-phased polls.

But the Election Commission is expected to hold elections in these states in the second phase as the period of first phase in mid-April is interspersed with holidays like Good Friday and other tribal festivals.

Seizure of a secret document of CPI (Maoist) by security forces that spells out details of its two pronged strategy to disrupt the 2014 general elections

Fear factor
Overall presence of two lakh armed police personnel
33 main focus area districts in Naxal-affected states
1.6 lakh armed forces for polls in Naxal states to be held in single phase
125 incidents and 24 deaths took place in six Naxal-affected states in 2009 elections
Fear of communal clashes in UP, Bihar, Karnataka, Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh

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