Assembly elections: MHA orders CAPF to strictly follow Covid protocols
Worried about soaring COVID-19 cases, the Home Office has ordered Central Armed Police Forces (CAPFs) on election duty in five election-bound states to strictly follow security protocols.
A senior MHA official said on Friday that CAPFs had been asked to brief officers on the ground on the safety and security of their men deployed in five poll-linked states – Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Punjab, Goa and Manipur to prevent them from getting infected.
To ensure compliance with COVID-19 protocols such as social distancing, more voting booths will be created, which will require the deployment of more security personnel.
CAPF has raised concerns about the safety of its staff while traveling in poll-related states, particularly in Uttar Pradesh where polls will be conducted in phases in districts and where local police or government district staff provides food, accommodation and transportation for CAPF staff.
The MHA official informed that instructions have been issued to complete the precautionary dose process for all eligible CAPF personnel at the earliest. Company commanders have been instructed to ensure social distancing in the camps, provision of an isolation bed if possible, mask and sanitizer.
A senior CAPF officer said the movement of personnel had started and the first batch of election duties for pre-election arrangements had already been deployed. The next group will soon come to the polls, he added.
“For the movement of the patrol teams during the polls, a private vehicle with driver is provided by the district administration to avoid compromising the security bar maintained by the staff,” he said.
The CRPF officer said the company commander will coordinate with the chief of police or district administration to ensure that disinfected vehicles for their movement and fully vaccinated drivers are provided.
“We have asked officers in the field to ensure the highest level of security protocols for staff. And officers will personally travel to camps or where they are staying to ensure appropriate facilities in the field. In the event emergency, staff will be taken to the nearest COVID-19 care facility,” he added.
On Thursday, around 30 members of the Border Security Force (BSF) deployed on electoral duty in Kotdwar Assembly constituency, Uttarakhand, tested positive for COVID-19.
At present, around 4,400 CAPF staff in the country are infected with COVID-19. These include both CISF and CRPF staff, with more cases reported to CISF.
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