The Election Commission (EC) will include female officers in the flying squads and static surveillance teams (SSTs) to check the baggage and purses of women during the routine checking in future Lok Sabha and Assembly elections.
In the Assembly elections in UP in 2012,there was no lady officer in the 403 flying squads and around 1,400 SSTs deployed across the state. Sources said that the EC had then directed to stop checking of baggage of women when some of them opposed the exercise being done by men during the elections.
There were reports of some such incidents when women had objected to checking of their purses by flying squads and SSTs. Female officers would be engaged with the flying squads and SSTs in the next elections to ensure complete checking, said Umesh Sinha,Chief Electoral Officer of UP.
An EC official said that as purse and baggage of women could not be checked during the previous elections,possibility of movement of unaccounted cash by them could not be ruled out.
Earlier,the EC had been deploying one flying squad in each Assembly area and one SST at each police station. Now the EC has directed to strengthen the vigil by deploying at least three or more flying squads in each constituency. There should also be three or more SSTs in every constituency,irrespective of number of police stations there,the EC said. Each SST will have one magistrate and three or four police personnel. Some of the SSTs could be composed of CRPF personnel,depending upon the sensitivity of the area.
SSTs will put up checkposts on major arterial roads,border of the district and state and keep watch on the movement of illicit liquor,items of bribe,or large amount of cash,arms and ammunition and also movement of anti-social elements in the area.
Flying squads and SSTs have been directed to send a daily activity report in respect of the items seized to the districts police chief,returning officer and election observers concerned. Flying squads will also supervise the functioning and proper conduct of SSTs during checking in their areas.