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Human rights violations: Jharkhand election official refuses to meet civil society delegation

By Our Representative
A delegation of Jharkhand Janadhikar Mahasabha, along with representatives of the Adivasi Adhikar Manch and Khunti villages, which went to meet the Jharkhand Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) to discuss the severe repression and widespread violations of human rights by local administration and security forces in villages of Khunti that saw Pathalgadi in the last few years, was allegedly refused appointment as the election official.
A civil'society communique said, the CEO's office had given the delegation an appointment for 3 pm but the CEO made the team wait for almost 3 hours. He was not in office for a long time and when he did come back, he made people wait for more time. He saw the delegation waiting outside. And finally the delegation submitted the memorandum in his office and left without meeting him.
The delegation consisted of Bharat Bhushan Choudhary, Stan Swamy, Ashok Verma, Kalyan Nag, among others.
The delegation said in the memorandum that attempts were being made by the local administration and police, across the state, to dissuade people to discuss their issues under the pretext of Model Code of Conduct. The growing practice of routinely applying section 144 as soon as Model Code of Conduct comes into force and using to stop non-political discussions on people’s issues is worrying, it added.
The delegation demanded deployment of special independent observers for monitoring elections in the Khunti Lok Sabha constituency to ensure free and fair voting; sought assurance that no further arrests be made on the frivolous FIRs filed in Khunti during the elections.
It asked an end to repression by the security forces and administration to ensure that villagers who have been terrorised away from their homes are able to come back to freely exercise their franchise in the forthcoming election; and wanted removal of police camps from schools to allay fear amongst people and making the atmosphere conducive to a fair election.
It also that the district administration should be instructed not to misinform people regarding Model Code of Conduct and not to use section 144 at all. Districts and blocks that have applied section 144 as a continuum of the Model Code of Conduct should be instructed to withdraw it immediately, it added.

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