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Muslim names deleted from electoral rolls in UP
By MG correspondent, Rampur

A large number of Muslim votes were found to be deleted from the voters list that was prepared by the UP government in Thakurduwara Assembly segment in Rampur. Names of more than fifteen thousand Muslims were found deleted from the electoral rolls ahead of the forthcoming elections. As if that was not enough, senior state officials were also found guilty of adding more than 20000 people belonging to the majority community without following the procedures and in disregard of the directives of Election Commission and the Supreme Court. The Election Commission on 28 September ordered suspension of four senior officials and transfer of ten others in Uttar Pradesh for dereliction of duty.

Complaints were received by the Chief Election Commissioner JM Lyngdoh to review the programme of electoral photo identity cards with regard to irregularities in the summary revision of electoral rolls of Thakurdwara and Unnao.

Congress member of the Parliament Begum Noor Bano had complained to the Election Commission following the disappearance of a large number of Muslim names from the voters list. It was the amazingly large number of absence of names from the lists that prompted her to lodge a formal complaint with the Election Commission. She told MG that it were repeated complaints from the people of the area that prompted her to check the facts herself. She added that it was large magnitude of the problem that forced her to take immediate action and lodge a formal complaint with the Election Commission.

Several people even in Rampur city have also complained of similar deletion of their names from the latest voters list. Dr Waqqas, a local physician, says that when he went to the election office to collect his electoral identity card, to his amazement he found that his name was missing from the list. He added that though he and his brothers were voting for last several years their names were missing from the list. The list included the names of his father and mother only from their house. Several others have also made similar complaints.

According to the Election Commission Secretary JK Rao, the commission is of the view that such large scale violation and disregard of existing rules and provisions could not have been carried out in such a reckless and cynical manner without the involvement and active knowledge of senior officers concerned including the district election officer-cum-district magistrate of Moradabad at the time when this revision was carried out.

The commission has directed the state chief secretary to suspend KS Gupta, who is currently a special secretary to the UP government and who was the District Election Officer-cum-District Magistrate, Moradabad at the time of revision process. Other officials whose suspension has been ordered by the election commission are KR Singhal Electoral Election Officer-cum-sub divisional magistrate (Thakurdwara); DK Sinha, the then tehsildar-cum-assistant electoral registration officer, Thakurdwara and Mr Satyander Prakash, Naib Tehsildar, Thakurdwara. The Commission also ordered the transfer of 10 other district officers before 6 October. It has also ordered a special revision of electoral rolls of the Thakurdwara constituency with reference to 1 January 2002 as qualifying date.

The same sort of complaints were filed from another district, Unnao, near Lucknow, but the EC team found out that there were no such proof of similar dereliction there.

Such complaints are not uncommon. Similar complaints have often been heard from different places. But it was the first occasion when such misuse of electoral machinery has been done in blatant violation of Election Commission directives and the Constitution.

But it is unlikely that this has been done by a few disgruntled officers. Involvement of several officials in the same set-up points out some nefarious planning in this respect. Extensive investigation is needed to bring such act to a halt.
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