With the counting of votes for the 2018 Assembly elections in Karnataka to begin at 8 am on Tuesday, security has been beefed up across the state, especially at the counting centres.
According to the Karnataka Chief Electoral Officer, 38 counting centres have been set up across the state and 11,160 staff deployed for counting votes.
The state police too have beefed up security, with over 50,000 civil policemen to be deployed along with 180 Karnataka State Reserve Police (KSRP) platoons with 25 personnel. Each district will have five to eight KSRP platoons.
Ten Rapid Action Force (RAF) companies will be deployed in sensitive areas. Each RAF company will have 360 personnel. Bengaluru Urban, Bengaluru Rural, Mandya, Mysuru, Hassan, Tumakuru, Mangaluru, Hubballi-Dharwad, Shivamogga and Belagavi are the sensitive zones, according to the police.
“Currently there is three-tier security at the strong rooms where the ballots are being guarded. On the day of vote counting, the security will be strengthened further, and the counting halls and centres will all be guarded,” said Additional Director General of Police (Law and Order) Kamal Pant.
The strong rooms where the ballots are kept will be guarded by paramilitary personnel, while the middle layer (premises of the counting centres) will be guarded by KSRP personnel. The area outside and the entrance of counting centres will be guarded by the local police.
Roads leading to the counting centres will be barricaded and police personnel will be deployed from where the barricades begin right up to the gate of the counting centre.
“Only authorised persons with ID cards authorised by the Election Commission will be allowed to pass through the barricade. Once they reach the gate, the persons must show the IDs once more. They will be frisked and will also have to pass through a DFMD machine. Only candidates, counting officers, authorised police personnel and the EC officials assigned to the said centres will be allowed inside,” ADGP Pant said.
Security measures at each counting centre will be supervised by an officer of the rank of superintendent of police (SP) or deputy commissioner of police (DCP). Police officers below the rank of SP will be on bandobast duty. One police officer of the rank of DCP and one of the rank of Inspector will be deployed in each counting hall followed by several junior officers.
Followers of political parties and individual candidates will not be allowed past the barricade and a designated spot near the counting centre will be assigned where they can wait for the results.
“For example, Maharani College in Bengaluru is a counting centre. Followers of politicians and party workers will have to gather at Freedom Park. When a candidate wins or loses, there will be reactions. These arrangements are to ensure that no untoward instances occur,” Kamal Pant added.
Prohibitory orders under Section 144 of CrPC will be put in place and Deputy Commissioners of every district must issue these orders latest by 12.00 am on Tuesday, ADGP Pant said.
Police have banned celebrations, processions and bursting of crackers around the 38 counting centres.
ADGP Pant added, “Paramilitary forces, armed forces including the Karnataka State Reserve Police (KSRP) and civil policemen will be deployed to control the crowd and avoid any untoward incident at each counting centre. The respective SPs have been given the liberty to use Rapid Action Force (RAF) troops to maintain law and order in their jurisdiction.”