Acouple of days before the first phase of the Lok Sabha elections, two incidents of violence have turned the spotlight on the security preparedness. A BJP MLA and four security personnel were killed in a Naxal attack in Dantewada district of Chhattisgarh, while an RSS leader and his personal security officer were gunned down in Kishtwar district of Jammu and Kashmir. Dantewada falls in Bastar Lok Sabha constituency, which goes to the polls on Thursday. Going by the Naxals’ track record, the incident is another attempt to disrupt the poll process. Four BSF personnel were killed and two others injured in an encounter with Naxals in Kanker district last week. Before the Assembly polls in November last year, a CISF jawan and three civilians had lost their lives when an IED planted by Naxalites had ripped through a bus in Dantewada. Back in 2013, in the run-up to the Assembly elections, 27 persons, including senior Congress leader Mahendra Karma and former Union Minister VC Shukla, were killed in an ambush in Bastar.
As per the Chhattisgarh police, the MLA ignored an advisory about avoiding a particular route. However, this contention does not absolve the security agencies of responsibility. What’s worse, the killing is being given a political colour, even though Naxals have been a headache for successive governments in the state. Amid the blame game, the Election Commission (EC) has rightly decided to go ahead with polling as per schedule.
Kishtwar, which had been declared terrorism-free over a decade ago, had witnessed the killing of BJP state secretary Anil Parihar and his brother Ajeet Parihar in November last year. In the light of recent reports that Hizbul Mujahideen and Lashkar-e-Taiba terrorists are active in the area, the RSS leader’s murder apparently has a terror/communal angle. Kishtwar is part of the Udhampur Lok Sabha seat, which will go to the polls on April 18. Any security lapse that leads to bloodshed should not go unpunished. The EC can do its job effectively only if law and order prevails.