Police draw up roadmap for panchayat elections

Both the District and City Police will deploy close to 6,000 personnel for the gram panchayat polls, which are going to be held in four phases in the district beginning from February 9.

Elections will be held for 968 gram panchayats in the district, of which 875 are in the rural and tribal areas under the District Police and 93 under the Police Commissionerate.

Critical centres

Under the District Police, there are 140 hyper-sensitive panchayats and 175 sensitive ones, and all the 244 panchayats in the 11 mandals of Visakha Agency have been categorised as left wing extremism-affected panchayats. All these panchayats come under Paderu sub-division and the polls are scheduled for February 17.

In the district, the police face the challenge of braving the threat from the CPI (Maoist), as well as controlling unruly elements in the hyper-sensitive and sensitive panchayats.

The Maoists have already released a letter asking tribals to abstain from voting in the elections and have also held a few meetings in the AOB region.

โ€œTackling the Maoist threat is different from enforcing law and order in the hyper-sensitive areas. In case of the LWE, we have a standard operating procedure, but in the hyper-sensitive and sensitive areas in the plain areas, political passions run high and this is a concern for worry,โ€ said Superintendent of Police B. Krishna Rao.

Over half of the hyper-sensitive and sensitive panchayats are in the Anakapalle sub-division. This area will be covered in the first phase of elections on February 9.

Fully prepared

The District Police will be deploying personnel from its armed wing, Greyhounds, AP Special Police and District Special Parties.

About 36 static checkposts have been set up to check the flow of unwanted elements, liquor and cash, said Mr. Krishna Rao.

This apart, road opening parties, bomb squads, shadow teams, Quick Reaction Teams and drones will be deployed in all LWE-affected areas.

โ€œWe have already started conducting flag marches and awareness campaigns in all hyper-sensitive and sensitive areas,โ€ said the SP.

Under the City Police, out of 93 gram panchayats, 29 have been categorised as hyper-sensitive and 27 as sensitive.

Deployment will be adequate as per the categorisation and all measures are being taken to avoid any untoward incidents, said Commissioner of Police Manish Kumar Sinha.

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