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Human rights activist Shabnam Hashmi flags malpractices prior to Gujarat polling day, alleges misuse of power and assertion of undue influence by state apparatus

On April 19, Human rights activist Shabnam Hashmi approached the Election Commission of India (ECI) to highlight malpractices and instances of undue influence being implemented by state apparatus in Gandhi Nagar Lok Sabha constituency. As per the complaint, Hashmi has provided that a large number of people belonging to various communities have been getting calls from police stations and crime branch with the aim of creating confusion. Through these calls, people, including political party members, are allegedly being threatened to become inactive and not campaign for Congress candidate. Notably, the threats specify of dire consequences for people in case they do not abide by what they are being told by the state apparatus.

In her complaint, Hashmi has written “There are several levels of these interactions with the police and crime branch from cajoling to become inactive and not campaign for Congress candidate. I was told that level of threats and likely consequences, if they don’t agree, depend upon the status of the person whom they have called. Some have been threatened with dire consequences of cases being filed against them or reopening of old cases of petty crime and turning them into big ones.”

It is essential to note that Hashmi has also specifically provided details of the meetings that took place between police and crime branch officers and present and former BJP MLAs. She wrote “Meetings were held at Karnawati Club with community leaders where crime branch, SOG officers and police were present along with a former and present BJP MLA and they were strictly told to ensure that candidates should be put up and nominations must be filed. Money is being offered openly.”

Furthermore, Hashmi provided that chairmen and secretaries of various cooperative bodies including cooperative banks, milk cooperatives, APMC, Purchase Unions, GSC bank, etc., have been instructed to campaign for Home Minister Amit Shah. Along with this, she highlighted how college students were being forced to attend Shah’s road show, warning them of being given failing grades in their internal exams if they skip the said show.

Hashmi has also alleged regarding the plans in place to disrupt polling and elections by stating “Anti-social elements have also been called and instructed to disrupt voting on the Election Day and to ensure no rickshaws are available in the afternoon.”

With this, Hashmi has urged the ECI to take cognizance of the serious allegations being made by her and the residents of Gujarat and “ensure that extra forces are deployed in Gandhi Nagar Lok Sabha constituency to ensure that people can vote peacefully on May 7, and anti-social elements, local police and ruling party does not create a situation like they did in 2019.”

The full complaint can be read here:

 

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