Thursday, April 14, 2011

Polling Official Applied Indelible Ink On Amputated Limb In Kerala

Kottayam : A man whose left arm was amputated after an accident has complained that he was "harassed and insulted" by presiding officer in a booth in Poonjar segment by insisting that the indelible ink should be applied on the tip of the cut off limb during voting to assembly polls yesterady.

Official sources said the incident betrayed ignorance of election rules on the part of polling officer as it was clear in the rules that if a voter did not have fingers on the left arm the ink could be applied to index finger on right arm.

Antony (47) had gone to cast his vote in a booth at Erumeli in Poonjar assembly segment. When he held out his right hand, a polling personnel applied the ink on his finger on the right palm. But soon enough, the presiding officer intervened and inistited that though the voter did not have fingers on the left arm, the ink should be rubbed on the tip of the amputated limb itself.

"They harassed and insulted me. I was put in a traumatised state. For a moment I felt that I would return without voting", Antony told PTI.

He said the polling officers declined to be convinced despite he repeatedly telling them that in previous elections it was on right index finger the ink was applied. They kept on insisting that under the rules the ink should be applied on the "tip" of the left hand.

Antony, an employee in the state electricity board, had his left forearm operated and removed in 1988 after he suffered a shock while working on a 11KV line.

He said in the past elections, he had in fact received sympathetic consideration from polling officials as he was a physically challenged person. This was for the first time that he faced such a "shock" in the polling booth, he said.

Antony said he had faxed a complaint to EC officials reagarding the "harassment" he suffered.

When contacted, district administration officals said the presiding officer had apologised to Antony in writing.

However, Antony said he had not received any such apology from the officer regretting what had happened.

Meanwhile, human rights campaigners decried the incident describing it as "shocking and inhuman." PTI


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