Sivakumar is at the centre of the Poojappura school ground, directing an old couple to booth number 39, a classroom rearranged as a polling booth for the state election. He is the only police official managing all four booths at the school, where more than 1,200 voters are expected to cast their votes for the Assembly election. “No untoward incident has happened, everything has been peaceful here. In other booths, special police officers are deployed to ensure smooth voting,” he says, while guiding another voter.
Police jeeps, officials, special police officers have been deployed in polling booths across Kerala, making sure no untoward incident happens on election day. While it has been mostly peaceful, a few stray incidents of violence have been reported from a few areas as the state Assembly election was underway on Tuesday.
Four workers of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) were allegedly attacked at their booth office in Kattaikonam, Thiruvananthapuram. Party workers alleged that CPI(M) workers were behind the attack. Sobha Surendran, the BJP candidate for Kazhakuttam constituency, reached the spot and staged a sit-in protest for some time.
She told Asianet News that despite several complaints being lodged with the police, the Chief Minister and the Election Commission, BJP workers were still attacked in Kattaikonam. She herself could not walk on the road because she would be subjected to insults and hoots, she said. Flex boards of the party were destroyed several times, Sobha claimed.
The BJP member, who has been at the forefront of the protests against allowing women into the Sabarimala temple, alleged that police officials with “Marxist minds” were protecting criminals.
Sixteen kilometers away, Anju Vishal, a special police officer, has been guiding voters at booth number 85 of the Cotton Hill School in Vazhuthacaud. A booth where Congress MP Shashi Tharoor and BJP candidate Krishna Kumar have their votes, Cotton Hill has also been incident-free.
But at the other end of Kerala, in Kasaragod’s Udma constituency, a polling agent of the United Democratic Front (UDF), James Maroor, who is also the district secretary of the Kerala Congress, said in a video that he was attacked at the Vellachal Government School. The New Indian Express reported that he was allegedly assaulted by CPI(M) workers for entering the booth.
James can be heard saying in the video released on social media, “I asked that democracy be followed and they said what they say is the rule and there is no democracy. Then one person hit my head. I asked the presiding officer to protect me. He did nothing. Outside, there were two police officers. They too did nothing even as I was dragged out and assaulted again.”
#Trikaripur: UDF polling agent & Kerala Congress district secy James Maroor assaulted at Booth No. 127 at Government Model School at Vellachal in Pillicode panchayat. UDF candidate MP Joseph demands polling be stopped in the station. Pilocode is a CPM bastion #KeralaElections pic.twitter.com/DxDH6MylVD— george poikayil (@george_TNIE) April 6, 2021
A day earlier, the vehicle of Congress leader K Muraleedharan, the UDF candidate for Nemom constituency, was reportedly attacked after a clash between Congress and BJP workers. The incident occurred at 9 pm on Monday, reported The Hindu.
The PTI reported two more incidents of violence, both in Kannur. Mohammed Ashraff Kalathil, presiding officer of a booth in Payyanur constituency, and Abdul Raheed, the UDF candidate in Andoor, were allegedly attacked by CPI(M) workers.