Around 500 masked men allegedly attacked a polling team in Kurung Kumey district of Arunachal Pradesh on Monday. The team was on its way to the Nampe polling station, where a re-poll is scheduled on Tuesday, the Arunachal Times reported. The polling station is located in Koloriang Lok Sabha constituency in the district.
The team, comprising Central Reserve Police Force personnel and two sections of the Indian Reserve Battalion, was waylaid in Lumbung area, The Hindu reported.
The Arunachal Times reported, quoting an unidentified police officer, that the assailants belonged to the National People’s Party. The party is an ally of the Bharatiya Janata Party in Northeastern states. It holds 16 out of the 60 seats in the Arunachal Pradesh Assembly.
Nampe sector magistrate Rido Tarak filed a first information report at the Koloriang police station. “The miscreants ambushed the team around 5 pm,” he said. “They indiscriminately fired several rounds of bullets with sophisticated weapons, which included AK-47 assault rifles.”
The magistrate said the CRPF did not resort to retaliatory firing, fearing casualties on both sides. The attackers, who outnumbered the forces and the polling team, overwhelmed them and forced them to surrender the electronic voting machines they were carrying, another police officer said.
“The poll team has safely returned to Koloriang from Langbang,” the Kurung Kumey district election officer said. He said the Election Commission is determined to go ahead with the re-polling despite the attack and loss of EVMs. The officer said an alternative team has been sent to Nampe through a different route.
The poll panel had ordered re-polling at the booth in Koloriang constituency after allegations of electoral malpractices during an earlier reelection in April, PTI reported. Another booth in Tali seat of Kra Daadi district will also see re-polling on Tuesday.