CSDS researchers detained overnight in Sikkim for conducting post-poll survey
Researchers from the Centre for the Study of Developing Societies (CSDS) have been detained over night in Sikkim for conducting a post poll survey in the State.
Mukund Giri, one of members of the research team involved in the exercise along another researcher have remained under detention at Gangtok Sadar police station since Tuesday evening. An officer of the police station said on Wednesday that the researchers have been detained after a complaint was received by Sub Divisional Magistrate. “There was some protests by locals about the survey and two people have been taken under preventive detention,” the officer said. Later in the day, they are likely to be questioned by senior administrative officials.
Mr. Giri said that they have been conducting the survey in the state since Sunday but the problem started early on Tuesday.
“Earlier in the day when our students were conducting survey at Airthang in East Sikkim, a group of people surrounded them. We have been brought to a police station in Gangtok where we are being detained,” Mr. Giri said over telephone. CSDS is one of the country’s leading social science research institutes.
While he maintained that the team has not sought any permission for the survey, Mr. Giri said similar exercises are being carried in other northeastern states like Mizoram.
“We have carried out such surveys in past. We do not require any permission. The authorities are alleging that we are violating the norms of secrecy of elections,” he said.
The authorities maintain that any exit poll, opinion poll or political survey is not allowed during this period when model code of conduct is in place without proper permission. Elections to the 32 Assembly seats and one Lok Sabha seat in Sikkim were held on April 11. “We have sought a report from East Sikkim district returning officer on the whole issue,” R. Telang, Chief Electoral Officer of Sikkim said.