(MENAFN - Arab News) New delhi: india’s election commission hit back thursday at claims of bias from frontrunner narendra modi saying it “deplored” attempts to undermine its neutrality in the final stages of the marathon contest.
“there shall never be a situation or an occasion where the commission will deviate from neutrality” v.s sampath the head of the commission said at a press conference in new delhi.
“we also deplore any attempt by anyone to cast aspersions on the constitutional institution like the election commission of india at a very sensitive time like the present one that could cause long term damage to the independence and neutrality of the commission” he added.
sampath’s comments came after modi accused the commission of bias by not sanctioning one of two rallies that the bharatiya janata party (bjp) leader had planned to stage in varanasi in uttar pradesh on thursday.
after accusing the commission of a failure to ensure “free and fair polls” in the last three phases of the six-week election modi said sampath’s organization had been “acting partially.”
meanwhile several homes and stores in india’s tea-growing state of assam were set on fire by unidentified persons police said the latest attack in an area where muslim villagers were killed in a massacre last week.
modi has ramped up verbal attacks on illegal immigration by muslims from nearby bangladesh drawing criticism from his opponents that he is stirring up trouble.
at least 41 people were killed in assam by suspected militants belonging to the bodo tribe in three massacres last week. they were believed to be revenge attacks after muslims voted against the bodo candidate.
security forces on thursday said the suspected bodo militants had since fled to neighboring bhutan.
india shares a border with the himalayan country and citizens do not need any documents to travel there.
“as the border is open it is easier for the militants to cross over” s. n. singh a senior police officer told reporters. he said the indian government had asked bhutan to keep a watch on the border.
sporadic outbreaks of violence are common against muslims who live alongside the bodo tribe in western assam near the border with bangladesh.
bodo militants say the muslims are undocumented immigrants from bangladesh who have taken their ancestral lands but members of the minority group say they were mostly born in india.