Andhra post-poll violence: ECI takes action against top officials, directs MHA to retain 25 companies of CAPF after results

Police recovered several petrol bombs, stones and sickles from Palnadu where several instances of violence was reported on voting day.

ByRaj Rayasam

Published May 17, 2024 | 12:37 AM Updated May 17, 2024 | 12:37 AM

Post poll violence in Andhra; Election Commission takes action

Taking exception to the outbreak of violence during and after the elections for Lok Sabha and Assembly seats in Andhra Pradesh, the Election Commission of India (ECI) on Thursday, 16 May asked the government to transfer Palnadu District Collector (DC) and suspend two district Superintendents (SPs).

Additionally, the ECI also directed the Union Home Ministry to retain 25 companies of central forces in Andhra Pradesh for 15 days after the counting of votes on 4 June.

Expressing its displeasure to the state Chief Secretary KS Jawahar Reddy and DGP Harish Gupta over the violence, the ECI asked state officials to launch a departmental enquiry.

On the same day, Andhra Pradesh police officials seized 50 petrol bombs, stones, sickles and two sacks of broken liquor bottles at Pinnelli village in Palnadu.

Lok Sabha elections 2024: Violence mars polling in AP; voting largely peaceful in Telangana

Election Commission takes action

On Thursday, the poll authority summoned top state officials Jawahar Reddy and Harish Gupta to its office in Delhi to seek a “personal explanation” over the incidents of violence reported on 13 and 14 May.

After reviewing the state government’s report, the EC approved the transfer of Palnadu DC, the suspension of district superintendents of police (SPs) of Palnadu and Anantapur, the transfer of the Tirupati SP, and the suspension of 12 police officials across three districts.

The EC also ordered departmental enquiries in these districts to constitute Special Investigation Teams (SITs), investigate incidents of violence, and submit the report to the commission in two days.

It also asked the officials to file FIRs against the people responsible under appropriate sections of the IPC and other statutory provisions.

The EC also approved the request of the Andhra Pradesh government to retain 25 companies of Central Armed Police Forces (CAPF) for 15 days after the counting of votes on 4 June to control possible violence after the declaration of results and directed the Ministry of Home Affairs to this effect.

Releasing a statement after the meeting with top state officials, the poll authority said that it had directed the officials “without mincing any words” to ensure such violence is not repeated and that all SPs be tasked to take pre-emptive measures to avoid such a situation in future.

Also Read: Elections wrapped, AP CM Jagan set for Europe vacation

Palnadu still tense

On the same day, acting on information they received, Andhra Pradesh police seized 50 petrol bombs, stones, sickles and two sacks of broken liquor bottles at Pinnelli village in Palnadu district where violence was reported after the 13 May voting for Assembly and Lok Sabha seats.

SP Bindu Madhav Garikapati noted that this cache of crude and country-made weapons was seized from two houses in the village.

“Due to the prevalence of tense situation, we thought it is good to verify and searched all the houses at Pinnelli village in Machavaram mandal one by one and found broken beer bottles in one house and bottles filled with petrol and wicks in another,” he said in a video statement released by the district police.

The SP noted that the cache of weapons was found in two houses, leading to the custody of C Peddasaida, C Nanne, Allah Bakshu, C Jany Basha and Tanda Pedda Nanni.

Police were also said to be on the lookout for the accomplices of these people who are suspected of making arrangements for these weapons.

Related: Palnadu district in AP tense after TDP workers unleash violence

Violence before and during voting

This comes days after the voting day on 13 May, when Anantapur, Tirupati, and Palnadu witnessed violence, with TDP and YSRCP blaming each other.

Palnadu witnessed violence as TDP workers allegedly went on a rampage in Kothaganeshunipadu, targeting the houses of those who supported the ruling YSRCP.

After several violent clashes were reported in the two districts, Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) Mukesh Kumar Meena directed officials to enforce house arrests wherever required and register cases.

At Narasaropet, police fired rubber bullets to disperse a crowd that was apparently about to attack YSRCP candidate G Srinivas after an argument between him and the TDP workers.

A police official was suspended for his alleged involvement in aiding in the abduction of TDP booth agents as voting was underway. Meanwhile, a BSF jawan suffered an eye injury when YSRCP and TDP men pelted stones at each other.

Incidents of violence were also reported before polling in Andhra Pradesh including assault, setting of properties, intimidation, setting office parties on fire, damage to campaign vehicles and stone pelting.

These incidents took place mostly in the districts of Annamaya, Chittoor and Palnadu, with a few of them witnessed in Guntur, Anantapur and Nandyal.

Also Read: Lok Sabha elections 2024: Andhra Pradesh records highest turnout in South India; Telangana registers the lowest

(Edited by Neena)