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  • Top 6 safety tips to stay safe and secure this election season

     

    General elections of 2019 is here and the world’s largest democracy heads to the polls to collectively decide on the future course of India. The scale and scope of the election operation is immense, with over 830 million electorate, out of which half a billion are expected to cast their vote. To put that into perspective, there are more people eligible to vote in India than the total electoral population of the other three largest democracies combined. Keeping the large scope in mind, there are 1 million poll booths spread across India where citizens will exercise their right to vote with over 10 million election officials engaged in managing the vast scale of this operation.

    The largeness of this election, and the high emotions prevailing across the country has given rise to high political tensions, directly impacting the safety and security of the regular civilians. During elections, the country and its people are vulnerable to terrorist and militant forces who do not believe in the countries democratic principles and will go to great lengths of violence to intimidate voters away from participating in their electoral rights.

    Naxals Militants have increased their activities by carrying out deadly attacks in Chhattisgarh and Maharashtra killing both civilian and paramilitary forces. Political violence is also of great concern with sporadic violence seen at the ground level which can potentially be risky and life threatening for voters at poll booths, and can also impact businesses due to curfews, travel restrictions or even bandhs called by political parties. Apart from the political tension, weather is also making the electorates’ job difficult, with people having to queue for up to an hour to cast their vote in soaring temperatures of 45°c in some parts of the country, potentially affecting voters health and their well-being. 

    Overall the citizens of India have reaffirmed their faith in democracy with early trends showing high voter turnout. Keeping that in mind, there are certain tips which people and businesses can follow to keep themselves safe and secure during one of India’s longest elections in history.

    • Avoid large crowds: As much as possible, avoid large gatherings in public places during the election season. They are potential soft targets for militant and terrorist and should be avoided at all cost to remain safe and secure.
    • Be wary of political processions: The streets will be filled with various political entities carrying out processions as a show of strength. While the vast majority of these are carried out peacefully, the potential of them turning violent quickly still remains and hence regular civilians should avoid being near them. Businesses too should keep track of these processions and if any processions are taking place near their establishment, they should immediately consider increasing their security coverage or as the last course, consider keeping their businesses shut till these processions are over.
    • Highway Road Travel: Travelling on highways should be avoided especially in areas impacted by Naxal violence. Highways are a prime target for political entities for ‘rasta roko’ activities which can potentially expose those stuck on the highway to random acts of violence. Highways are also prime targets for Militant forces who use IED (Improvised Explosive Device) to target Indian armed forces and have the potential of hurting civilians too.
    • Increase surveillance around offices and manufacturing units: Business should look towards deploying human assets and electronic surveillance assets to monitor a larger area around their offices and manufacturing units to keep track of any large gathering, any sudden movement of large crowds or any other unknown incidents, to ensure they are notified in advance, and have enough time and information to react accordingly and appropriately, and be able to keep their employees and assets safe and secure.
    • Have business contingencies in place: Anything is possible during the height of the election process and even during the post-election process. Businesses should evaluate what are the different risks they could possibly be exposed to and should have contingency plans in place to react to them. The following are just some contingencies which businesses should immediately put into place:
      • Have a safe evacuation plan in place - In a scenario where all employees and workforce needs to be taken to a safe location, businesses need to plan evacuation gathering points, have the logistical infrastructure for evacuating their employees, and have multiple safe locations planned to where they can safely take their people if a situation like such, ever arises.
      • Keep premises prepared for the scenario in which employees, workforce or even customers have to be kept safe and secure in the business premises. Plans need to be put in place to secure all entry and exit points, provisions for food, water, and basic sanitation should also be considered; till the time the external threat is neutralised.
    • Safeguard yourself against the weather: With lines stretching for hours and with the soaring temperature, citizens should take precautions to keep themselves safe from the weather. Carry umbrellas or wear hats to protect yourself from the sun. Carry lots of water and keep yourself hydrated. Dehydration and heat stroke are a real danger and people should keep themselves prepared to avoid it.

    With these points in mind, we hope everyone is able to cast their vote irrespective of which political party they support. Despite all its flaws, the exercise in democracy is what givens India its strength and legitimacy. While the Indian police forces and intelligence agencies are working 24x7 to protect us from such scenarios, private security companies can work well with them to control and deter any security threats. For over 48 years, TOPSGRUP has been a leader in the Security Industry and has the knowledge and experience of working alongside the government and has always created solutions for a safe and secure India. If you need our team of security experts to help you improve your security processes to handle the unique security challenges faced by your business during elections, call us on 1800 2255 87 or write to us on info@topsgrup.com.