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Manipur 2022: Saitu AC’s Congress candidate held for alleged vandalizing of EVM

Lamtinthang Haokip

Lamtinthang Haokip was booked under Representation of peoples Act in connection with poll violence at New Keithelmanbi polling station. The Congress demanded his immediate release.

TFM Desk

The Congress candidate for the Saitu AC, Lamtinthang Haokip (40), and his personal assistant Jamkholet Haokip (22), were arrested on charges of “assault to public servant from discharge of his duty, Mischief Representation of Peoples Act with common intention”.

An FIR (No. 1(2)2022 NKM-PS U/S:323/425/34-IPC & 132/31/135(1)/ 136(F) Representation of peoples Act) has been lodged at the New Keithelmanbi Police Station. The duo is presently being held at Imphal Police Station.

Chief Agent for the INC candidate, Andrew Gangmei has submitted a representation to the chief electoral officer of Manipur to intervene and release Lamtinthang Haokip.

As per the representation, Lamtinthang Haokip went to the New Keithelmanbi Polling Station, 51/46 Saitu (ST) AC, after obtaining information that “the BJP candidate along with his henchmen were indulging in booth capturing and proxy voting under the very nose of the presiding officer and the returning officer”.

After the polling officials allegedly retaliated when Lamtinthang Haokip requested them to ensure that the people were allowed to cast their votes as per their conscience and choice, the Congress supporters were infuriated and a scuffle broke out.

“In the intervening scuffle somebody unfortunately smashed the EVM. The polling officials instead of trying to calm down the situation aggravated it by instigating some of the BJP supporters that unfortunately led to a melee,” the representation stated.

It further alleged that the polling officials were found to be biased for reasons “best known to them, in favor of the BJP candidate which is unbecoming of a polling official”. The polling officials at the behest of the BJP candidate filed an FIR against Lamtinthang Haokip, it also claimed.

Meanwhile, the Congress has condemned the arrest and demanded the immediate release of their candidate. Senior Congress leader Jairam Ramesh even visited the Imphal Police Station to meet Lamtinthang Haokip.

Addressing media persons at Congress Bhawan, Imphal, Congress spokesperson Ningombam Bupenda Meitei lashed out at the manner in which the incident has been handled.

“The way they are behaving, it is evident that the police administration is working under pressure from the outgoing BJP government,” he alleged.

Bupenda Meitei also maintained that the reports of alleged malpractices in the voting process on Monday were destroying the foundation of free and fair elections.


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