Durgapur Municipal Election saw unprecedented violence, booth capture and rampant rigging
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The Honourable Chief Justice of India
Supreme Court of India
Tilak Marg, New Delhi-110201
We, the signatories of this petition are the residents of the city of Durgapur, West Bengal and are the rightful voters to participate as electorates in the Durgapur Municipal Corporation election, which was recently held on 13th August 2017.
We have experienced unprecedented scenes in this election. There were instances of stifling of democratic rights and bribing a major section of the electorate since the declaration of election, the intensity of which was on the rise with passage of time. However, on the last eve before election, we saw that army of hoodlums are entering in thousands into every nooks and corners of our city with convoys of SUVs. They stayed the night in hundreds, in some empty quarters of townships, hotels and lodges. We were shocked to see that trucks loaded with firearms arrived for them. On the night, they started dominating the streets with motorcycles and SUVs displaying firearms causing widespread panic among the people.They visited homes of many voters and threatened them with dire consequences if they come out to vote on the next day.
On the morning of election, we saw that as many as 200-250 armed mercenaries started taking control of each booth. We later learnt that as many as around 15000 such armed hoodlums from Asansol sub-division and adjoining districts of Birbhum, Bankura and Purba Bardhaman, and even from the neighbouring state of Jharkhand were imported to “cast vote” in favour of the ruling political party of the state. Polling agents of opposition parties were not allowed to enter, those few who had managed to get their appointments were forcefully evicted at gunpoint by those henchmen later on. General voters having allegiance to all political parties were either turned back from the polling station or had our votes cast at the surveillance of those gunmen according to their choice. Many of the voters were told that their votes are being cast after having their fingers inked. Those who protested were abused and beaten. Even the women and senior citizens were not spared. Activists of different political parties were beaten and injured. Even journalists and police personnels, dripping with blood, had to be hospitalised. This election of violence, as is evident from the results, has neither been free nor fair. The police and civic administration had remained silent spectators to such an unprecedented reign of terror resulting the civic poll to be a mere farce.
We, the signatories, have been denied of our democratic right to cast our votes independently and have been robbed of our constitutional right for freedom of expression and opinion. Most of us could not even cast our vote. It’s a complete wastage of public money in the name of an election. Legitimising such mockery of democracy might lead to people losing their faith in the democratic framework of our country who might go astray. Through this letter, we are praying before your Lordship to kindly take suo motu cognisance of this mockery of election and lodge a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) to cancel the election and ask for a separate re-election under an independent agency.
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