Disabled man `harassed` at polling booth in Kerala

Last Updated: Thursday, April 14, 2011 - 13:56

Kottayam: A disabled man has alleged that he was "harassed and insulted" while casting his vote at a pooling booth here as the presiding officer kept insisting that the indelible ink should be applied on the tip of his amputated left limb.

Antony (47) had gone to cast his vote in a booth at Erumeli in Poonjar Assembly segment during polling yesterday.

According to him, when a polling personnel applied the ink on his index finger on the right hand, the presiding officer intervened and insisted that the ink should be put on the tip of the amputated left limb.

"They harassed and insulted me. I was in a traumatized state. For a moment I felt that I would return without voting," Antony said.
He said the polling officers declined to be convinced though he repeatedly told them that in previous elections the ink was applied on the right index finger, and kept on insisting that according to rules the ink should be applied on the tip of the amputated left limb.

Antony said he has faxed a complaint to EC officials in this connection.

When contacted, district administration officials 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.

Antony, an employee of the state electricity board, had his left forearm surgically removed in 1988 after he suffered a shock while working on a high-voltage line.

Official sources said the incident showed 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.

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

PTI



First Published: Thursday, April 14, 2011 - 13:56

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