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Arunachal: Polling Party Attacked, EVMs Stolen by Masked Men; Attackers Allegedly Affiliated With BJP Ally NPP

"They indiscriminately fired several rounds of bullets with sophisticated weapons, which included AK-47 assault rifles," a police officer reportedly said.

On Sunday afternoon, May 19, more than 500 men allegedly affiliated with the National People’s Party (NPP) ambushed a polling team and snatched the electronic voting machines (EVM) and other poll equipment. The team was en route to the Nampe polling station in Kurung Kumey district, near Langbang as per a report in Arunachal Times.

The NPP is an ally of the Bharatiya Janata Party in the Northeastern states.

As per a report in The Hindu, however, the masked men destroyed the EVMs. Per the report, the team, which also comprised the CPRF and two sections of the Indian Reserve Battalion, was on its way to Nampe, where a repoll has been scheduled on Tuesday, May 21.

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A police source in Koloriang, speaking to Arunachal Times, confided that more than 500 masked men armed with sticks and guns — allegedly even AK-47 assault rifles — ambushed the polling team near Langbang and snatched the EVMs and other poll equipment.

Nampe sector magistrate Rido Tarak, per Arunachal Times, has lodged an FIR at the Koloriang police station. It reads, “The miscreants ambushed our team at around 5 pm. While doing so, they indiscriminately fired several rounds of bullets with sophisticated weapons, which included AK-47 assault rifles.”

He also said that the paramilitary force accompanying the polling team did not resort to retaliatory firing fearing deaths and casualties on both sides.

A police officer from Koloriang also told the daily, “One platoon of CRPF and two sections of IRBn were escorting the polling equipment to the Nampe polling station when the ambush was laid. Outnumbered by the armed goons, the security forces and the poll team surrendered the EVMs to them.”

Speaking to Arunachal Times, the Kurung Kumey district election officer said that the poll team has safely returned to Koloriang from Langbang, adding that they would conduct a fresh poll on May 21 as was scheduled. He also said that an alternative team had been sent to Nampe through a different route, “And they might have already reached the polling station.”

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