Nitesh Kumar Sahoo

The State Election Commissioner on Thursday called a high-level emergency meeting following the outbreak of violence in different places of Odisha during the first phase polling for the ongoing three-tier Panchayat elections, on Wednesday. 

As per reports, the State Chief Secretary, Home Secretary and Director General of Police (DGP) attended the high-level meeting. 

Earlier on Wednesday, several incidents of violence, booth capturing and rigging were reported from different places of Jajpur, Bhadrak, Dhenkanal and Puri districts during the first phase polling. Even an extremely disturbing incident of bombing was reported from Puri during an attempt to capture a booth that left 40 people injured, 17 of them critically. Moreover, media personnel were assaulted while covering booth capturing in the district.  

Emerging out of the meeting, DGP Sunil Kumar Bansal thanked everyone for the peaceful conduct of the first phase polls in the Maoist-dominated areas. 

"The first phase of Panchayat election was conducted largely in a free and fair manner across the State. However, cases of violence and misconduct were reported from 1-2 places. We have initiated action as per the law," said Bansal.

"We will take strict actions against those involved in such violent acts. We have already started arresting persons responsible for the violence. We will ensure to avoid any untoward incident or any violence in the next four phases. We have intensified patrolling in the areas. Any kind of violence or misconduct won't be tolerated," Bansal added.

Further, the DGP has assured that strict security measures will be in place for the remaining four phases of rural elections so as to ensure the conduct of the election in a free and fair manner.