Police complaint against Karnataka villagers for vandalism, destroying EVMs

The violence took place in the Chamarajanagar Lok Sabha seat, which led a poll official to file a complaint at the MM Hills Police Station.

BySouth First Desk

Published Apr 27, 2024 | 12:57 AMUpdatedApr 27, 2024 | 12:57 AM

The damage to the polling booth.

An election official in Karnataka on Friday, 26 April, filed a complaint with the police against residents of a village in the state claiming that they vandalised a poll booth and destroyed electronic voting machines (EVMs).

The Lok Sabha elections are being conducted in seven phases across the country between 19 April and 1 June. The second overall phase was on Friday.

The day also saw the first phase of the elections in Karnataka, with 14 of the 28 Lok Sabha seats going to polls. The remaining 14 will see voting in the overall third phase — on 7 May.

The violence allegedly took place in the Chamarajanagar Lok Sabha constituency, which led a poll official named Satish to file a complaint at the MM Hills Police Station.

Related: Lok Sabha Elections 2024 Phase 2 ends

The trigger

Five villages — Indiganatha, Mendare, Tulasikere, Tekane, and Padsalnatha — under the MM Hills Gram Panchayat in the Hanur taluka of the Chamarajanagar district boycotted polling on Friday over the lack of basic amenities.

Among over 1,306 voters in these villages, only two exercised their franchise. The rest chose to stay away, citing a continued lack of basic amenities.

The villagers said they did not have access to proper drinking water, roads, electricity, and mobile networks.

In the complaint, Satish said the voters of polling station number 416 in the Indiganatta village were not only planning to boycott the election but had even made a video statement about this and circulated it on social media.

A team of welfare officers went to the village to inform the local residents about the voting process and the provision of necessary basic facilities by the government, he said.

At 1.50 pm, while voting was underway, 20-30 voters from the Mendare village arrived at the polling booth, he recalled.

However, some villagers from Indiganatta protested against the voters, demanding a boycott of voting, and disrupted the process with a group of about 150-200 people, he said.

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The violence

The poll official alleged that the villagers pelted stones at officers present at the spot — including Tahsildar Guruprasad — and that the polling booth materials were destroyed.

The voting machine EBUEE35511, control unit number ECUEE55290, and furniture of the polling-booth room were vandalised, according to the complaint.

The voting process was completely disrupted, and the officials feared for their lives, it added.

The poll official demanded that appropriate legal action be taken against the villagers of Indiganatta who obstructed the voting and brutally assaulted the officers and police personnel related to the election.

He called for the invocation of Sections 132, 135, and 136 of the Representation of the People Act of 1951 and Sections 506 and 425 of the IPC.

(Edited by Arkadev Ghoshal)