Nearly 10,000 police personnel will be deployed for bandobust duty on May 23 for counting votes that were polled during the Lok Sabha elections conducted in the State on April 11.

This is in addition to the forces that were already allotted to guard the strong rooms where electronic voting machines (EVMs) and voter-verified paper audit trail (VVPATs) were stored, Additional Director-General of Police (Law and Order) Jitender said at a press conference here on Tuesday.

The elections to 17 Parliamentary constituencies were conducted in 34,603 polling stations and 18,526 polling locations in a peaceful manner on April 11. After completion of elections, the EVMs and VVPATs were stored in 123 strong rooms at 37 locations under 16 police units.

Jitender said only persons authorised by the Returning Officers would be allowed into the counting halls with a valid pass and mobile phones would not be permitted onto the premises.

Section 144 CrPc prohibiting movement of five or more persons would be promulgated within 100 meters of the counting centres on the day of counting and violators would be prosecuted.

No victory processions were permitted without specific permission from the competent authority.

“We request all political parties and candidates to cooperate in this regard,” he said. According to Jitender, a three-tier security was provided for safeguarding strong rooms comprising inner, middle and outer cordons as per guidelines of the Election Commission (EC).
Since April 11, the strong rooms were guarded by the Central Armed Forces and a constant vigil was maintained through surveillance cameras round-the-clock with command and control centres set up for each location.

Armed reserve and local district police forces were utilised for perimeter patrolling and watch duty to prevent any unauthorised access of anti-social elements at the strong rooms. “We are making elaborate security arrangements on the counting day to ensure peaceful atmosphere in the State after completion of counting,” he added.

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