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Asserting that the Election Commission was committed to ensuring free, fair, and peaceful elections, Arunachal Pradesh chief electoral officer (CEO) Pawan Kumar Sain said on April 1 that the election machinery in the state will not allow any interference in the ensuing poll process.

He added that the security forces have been asked to keep strict vigil along the porous India-Myanmar border in Arunachal Pradesh and the Arunachal-Nagaland border in order to frustrate any attempt by anti-social elements from across the border to disturb the poll process.

“Inter-state borders and international borders are being watched, and there is constant patrolling on those borders… We will not allow any intervention in the election process,” the CEO said in a press conference in Itanagar on April 1.

He informed that the chief secretary and the DGP had several rounds of meetings with their Assam and Nagaland counterparts and resolved certain issues that cropped up during the previous elections.

He said that considering the past incidents of clashes that took place concerning the polling stations along the Assam-Arunachal boundary areas, the chief secretary held a review meeting with the Assam government, wherein the concerned DCs and SPs from both sides were directed to ensure that no obstacle came on the way to conducting free and fair elections.

The CEO said that if any inputs come regarding the movement of insurgents along the Nagaland and Myanmar borders, the police department has been instructed to monitor the same. Accordingly, the police forces have been deployed to keep a strict vigil so that no threat perceptions prevail from any insurgent groups and no one dares to disturb the polling process.

He said that as part of preventative measures, 2,864 people have been bound down as per the provisions of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) till date, which is 10 times more than the figures of last elections. He said that habitual offenders have already been identified, and whoever is found involved in electoral offences, the police will initiate strict action against them.

He said that the illegal arms seized during pre-and post-MCC stood at 936. Moreover, 24,999 licenced arms have been deposited, and those who have not deposited yet have been asked to deposit the firearms at their nearest police station within the next 3–4 days; otherwise, strict action will be taken against them.

The CEO said that cash and other items, including drugs, narcotics, precious metals, and freebies worth over Rs 5.18 crore, were seized before the announcement of the poll schedule, while after March 16 (post-MCC), Rs 3.34 crore cash was seized, and the total value of cash and other goods seized is worth over Rs 11.51 crore.

He said that at all 37 inter-state border entry-exit points, intensive monitoring is being done to prevent flow of liquor, drugs, and cash.

The CEO also informed that the poll day, April 19, has been declared a ‘dry day’. Further, the government has declared a public-paid holiday on the voting day. IGP (law and order) and state police nodal officer Chukhu Apa has been asked to keep in coordination with neighbouring states to avert any untoward incident and ensure that no law and order issues arise during elections.

Arunachal Pradesh is going to simultaneously vote for 50 out of 60 Assembly constituencies (with 10 candidates already elected unopposed) and two Lok Sabha seats on April 19. The results of the assembly polls will be announced on June 2, two days before the Lok Sabha elections’ results.

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