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EC would provide disables voting card in Braille, auxiliary polling stations, transportation on polling day

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National Level Consultations on Accessible Elections organized by the Election Commission of India (ECI) in New Delhi

New Delhi: In India’s first National Level Consultations on Accessible Elections organized by the Election Commission of India (ECI) in New Delhi, several decisions have been taken regarding the strategy to enable 100 percent participation of the disables in the upcoming Lok Sabha Election.

Himachal Pradesh will launch a mobile app to facilitate disabled voters in the ensuing general elections. Ajai Srivastava, a member of HP State Committee on Electoral Literacy (SCEL) and Chairman of the non-profit organization Umang Foundation, said. He was representing Himachal as a disability expert.

It was the first national consultation on accessible elections in the country in which one disability expert from each State and Union Territories participated along with Chief Electoral Officers.

During the concluding session, the Chief Election Commissioner launched the distribution of Electoral Photo Identity Cards (EPIC) with Braille features for visually challenged voters by handing them over to two of the recipients. Later, he announced that such cards would be distributed to all visually challenged voters across the country.

All educational, vocational, and professional institutions across the country will set up Electoral Literacy Clubs to include potential young voters in the electoral process.

The disabled students will also be included in these clubs. The State Election Department will appoint more disabled with achievements as Youth Icons.

They will motivate the disabled and other youth to exercise their right to vote for the betterment of the country.

In the next election, transportation facility would be made available to severely disabled voters for casting their vote.

The Election Commission will constitute committees at national, state, district, and assembly constituency levels to monitor the compliance of its directions. The purpose is that no voter to be left behind.

The Commission has decided to establish auxiliary polling stations for the People with Disabilities (PwDs) during elections.

Disability Coordinators would be appointed at the levels of Assembly Constituencies, Districts and States. He informed that a mobile app would be developed in-house for the PwDs to facilitate them participate fully in election processes.

They would be permitted to avail public transport along with their attendants on the day of polling. The ECI would make available all its election-related awareness materials in accessible formats for the PwDs. The photo voter slips would also be made in accessible formats for them.

For the use of the hearing impaired voters, sign language windows will be established in all audio-visual training and awareness contents of the Commission. A new unit called Accessible Division would be established in the ECI-run International Institute of Democracy and Electoral Management (IIDEM) in New Delhi.

Accessibility Master Trainers would also be employed to provide cascaded training for the welfare of the PwDs. A follow up of the actions taken based on the recommendations made during the National Consultations on Accessible Elections would take place in the next three months.

The Election Commissioner Sunil Arora in his address said,

We should go far beyond the bureaucratic measures to overcome the barriers. Technology has the capability to fill the gaps and it shall be explored to its fullest potential.

The Election Commissioner Ashok Lavasa remarked that the set of recommendations received from the Consultations will be examined thoroughly and efforts will be made to implement them in a time bound manner.

The deliberations held during the two-day consultation resulted in a comprehensive “Strategic Framework on Accessible Elections” to help in making electoral processes more accessible in the forthcoming State and Lok Sabha Elections.

The Framework includes 14 important parameters like Identification of Barriers and respective solutions, Voter registration and polling, Inclusive Voter Education, Leveraging Technology for Accessible Elections, Research and Knowledge Sharing, Role of Partner Departments, Educational Institutions, CSOs, Volunteers and Media, Training and sensitisation of Staff, Alternative Voting Methods, Legislative Initiatives and Special four-tiered Committees on Accessible Elections.

Umang Foundation will help the Election Department to achieve the goal in HP,

Shrivastva Said.

Misc News/Press Release

Left Out Eligible Voters in Himachal Can Enroll on 23rd and 24th Feb: HP CEO

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Left Out Voters in Himachal Pradesh can apply

Shimla-In view of the general election for the Lok Sabha 2019, special camps will be organised at every polling station on 23rd and 24th February 2019, for enrolment of left out eligible voters in the State, informed the Chief Electoral Officer of Himachal Pradesh, Devesh Kumar.

He asked all Booth Level Officers (BLOs) to remain present in the camps along with the copies of final electoral rolls 2019. A copy of the electoral rolls will be available in the polling station so that electors can check their names in the rolls. The electoral rolls would be read out publically during the camp to facilitate illiterate voters. BLOs were asked to keep adequate copies of Forms 6, 7, 8 and 8A with him/her to facilitate filling up forms by interested persons.

Devesh Kumar said that all recognized political parties should depute their Booth Level Agents (BLAs) to remain present in camps. In case their name does not exist in the roll for some reason, the Electoral Photo Identity Card (EPIC) holders must also check their name in electoral rolls and fill up Form 6. The EPIC is only identification document and does not guarantee franchise if the name of the person is not included in the electoral roll of the concerned polling station.

He said that all forms received during these campaign days would be disposed of by  March 7, 2019. BLOs were directed to immediately complete the physical verification and then submit a report to the Electoral Registration Officer (ERO). The ERO should complete the due process of law and dispose-off the forms received during the camps within 11 days.

 Devesh Kumar said that registration can also be made through NVSP Portal by visiting the link (www.nvsp.in.) For inquiries, he said, electoral can also call on Toll-free number 1950.

Assembly constituency-wise data in respect of forms received during camps would be uploaded on the website of the commission at CEO’s portal by February 25, 2019. Information about the disposal of forms would be given through the website by March 7, 2019.

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Mandi Police Warns Miscreants Promoting Malice Against Kashmiris, Urges People to Maintain Peace

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Kashmiri people in Himachal Pradesh

Mandi-The District Police, Mandi, on Tuesday, issued a warning to miscreants who were trying to incite violence against and promoting malice against Kashmiri people living in the State.

“The public is informed that following the suicide bombing in Pulwama of Jammu and Kashmir, some miscreants are making appeals to the people on social media to throw Kashmiri labourers, hawkers, lumberjacks etc. out of State’

said the notice issued by the district police.

The police has warned that a stringent action against will be taken against anyone who is found preaching malice towards Kashmiri citizens through such messages/comments on social media or causing any sort of vandalism.

The police urged the people to beware of such hatemongers and miscreants and maintain peace in the society.  

On Tuesday, tension mounted in a panchayat of Mandi district when the villagers passed a resolution to ban Kashmiri citizens in their area. The villagers reportedly told the Kashmiris living in rented quarters to leave the State by Wednesday. Meanwhile, some miscreants reportedly pelted stones on their quarters. Scared Kashmiris had to take shelter at local police station, said reports.

In another instance, an unverified video was doing rounds on social media, showing two groups of students clashing inside the campus of a private university in Mandi. To incite fear, it was rumoured that the scuffle took place between Kashmiri and local students.  

Earlier, the campus of the UHF, Nauni, in Solan district, witnessed tension after police booked two of its students for alleged anti-national activities on social media. The booked students were allegedly supporting the suicide bomber responsible for the ghastly Pulwama attack, in which 40 CRPF jawans were martyred.

Following this news, right-wing outfits in Himachal Pradesh had made calls for a boycott of Kashmiris. Similar tension was reported from other parts of the nation too. A large number of Kashmiri students, who were studying outside their home state, were returning home for fear of violence being incited by miscreants.

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Martyr Tilak Raj Cremated with State Honour, Crowd Throngs to Pay Last Respects

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HP CRPF Martyr tilak raj cremated in Kangra

Kangra-Today, Tilak Raj, one of the 40 CRPF jawans martyred in Pulwama terror act on February 14, 2019, was cremated with state honour in his native village Dhewa in Nauna panchayat of Jawali region in Kangra district.

A pall of gloom descended on the village after the mortal remains of the Shaheed Tilak Raj reached his native village draped in tricolour. Villagers surrounded the father Layak Ram and his family and extended moral support to them in this hour of great grief .

His brother, Baldev, lit the pyre while entire area echoed with slogans of “Shaheed Tilak Raj Amar Rahe (Long Live Martyr Tilak Raj)” and “Pakistan Murbdabad.

While the wife of Tilak was in a semi-conscious, inconsolable state, her 3-years-old son was unaware of the fact that he had lost his father. This pain is further aggravated with the mention of his newborn baby who is only 22 days old.

His mortal remains arrived at Nurpur today morning. Chief Minister Jairam Thakur also paid his last respects by laying a wreath on the coffin.  The Chief Minister also took part in the last journey of the martyr.

 The State Government has already announced financial assistance of Rs. 20 lakh to the kin of the martyr. Today, the Chief Minister assured that State would provide government employment to the wife of the martyr.

 The Union Health Minister J.P. Nadda, former CM and MP Shanta Kumar, Food and Civil supplies Minister Kishan Kapoor, Health Minister Vipin Singh Parmar, and MLAs Arun Mehta and  Rakesh Pathania also paid their last respects to the martyr and met his family.

Tilakraj was a talented man, a good singer, and an athlete. He had written, sung, and released some of the songs. Some songs like Neelam Gaddan, Pyari Monika, Apne Ghar are also available on his YouTube channel Tilak Shanu Productions.

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