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Meghalaya: East Khasi Hills DC upholds section 144 for vote count day

Meghalaya: East Khasi Hills DC upholds section 144 for vote count day

The East Khasi Hills District Administration has enforced Section 144 in Shillong on June 4, citing law and order and traffic concerns. Critics argue this move undermines democratic rights.

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The stage is set for the counting of votes for the Lok Sabha elections in Shillong on June 4, but the District Administration's decision to impose Section 144 of the CrPC has sparked a political firestorm. While the authorities cite law and order concerns and traffic management as the primary reasons behind the move, some have criticised it as an 'attack on democratic rights'.

In a statement on May 28, East Khasi Hills Deputy Commissioner and Returning Officer, SC Sadhu, defended the imposition of Section 144, which prohibits rallies and processions from the counting centre. "We are not against celebrations," Sadhu clarified, "but long processions from the counting centre to respective locations could be disturbed by miscreants and mischief-mongers, leading to law and order issues."

Additionally, Sadhu pointed out that since the counting day falls on a working day, such rallies and processions in the heart of Shillong could cause severe traffic jams, akin to those witnessed during the Assembly elections.

Earlier, the Voice of the People Party (VPP) had strongly condemned the move, with General Secretary Ricky AJ Syngkon accusing the District Administration of "authoritarianism" and depriving citizens of their democratic right to participate in the electoral process.

The Hynniewtrep Integrated Territorial Organization (HITO) had also criticised the decision, terming it "disproportionate and unwarranted."

Edited By: Aparmita
Published On: May 28, 2024