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UP Panchayat elections: Gram pradhan turns out to be ‘minor’, used ‘forged’ papers to contest polls

“As per population register, her age is 24 and as per voter ID, it is 22. She is studying graduation and has also failed twice,” girls's father-in-law said,

A local court Wednesday sent the woman pradhan of Shankarpur gram panchayat in Rae Bareli district to a protection centre after police found that she was a “minor” and used “forged documents” to contest the rural polls, the minimum age for which is 21 years. The police have also found that the 17-year-old allegedly got married a year ago. Her husband Santosh Kumar (26) belongs to Shankarpur village and works in Dubai, said police.

“Following court orders a month ago, an FIR was registered against the woman under IPC Sections 420 (cheating), 468 (forgery) and 471 (using as genuine a forged document). A month-long investigation revealed that she is a minor and as per her Class VIII, X and XII marksheets, her actual age is not more than 17 years,” said B N Shukla, Station House Officer of Jagatpur police station. He added that the girl was sent to the women protection home in Barabanki on the orders of the local court on Wednesday.

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He said their investigation had revealed that her actual date of birth as per marksheets is July 1998. The voter ID she presented as age-proof for contesting the election bore a forged date of birth, he added. Shukla added, “It is true that she has been married for about a year now. We are investigating that aspect too, as marrying a minor is a crime.”

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Meanwhile, the district administration and the state election commission is awaiting further orders from the court.

“The matter has come to my knowledge, but we would have to wait till further orders from the court. She would remain gram pradhan till court declares the election null and void,” said District Magistrate Suryapal Gangwar.

State election commissioner S K Agarwal said, “Our role is limited to conducting polls. The legality of such matters concerns the court and the police. So far we have nothing to do with it. She would remain gram pradhan till court decides otherwise or declares the election null and void.”

The complaint at the local court was filed by the pradhan’s rival candidate, Krantiveer Yadav.

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“Throughout January and February, I kept running to the district magistrate, state election commission but no one took action. Her mother-in-law’s first name is the same as hers. So we initially thought that her mother-in-law, who runs a fair-price shop, is contesting the election. On the day of filing nomination, we saw this young girl filing the papers,” Krantiveer told The Indian Express.

“Maybe her mother-in-law wanted to contest the polls but later realised that she being a ‘Kotedar’ (fair price shop owner) could not do so. So, they forged the papers and made the girl contest the election,” he added.

The girl’s father-in-law Shyamlal Yadav, who is facing trial in a murder case, refuted allegations against the family.

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“As per population register, her age is 24 and as per voter ID, it is 22. She is studying graduation and has also failed twice,” he said, adding that he can’t comment on the marksheets.

 

First published on: 31-03-2016 at 01:52:52 am
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