Researchers from the Centre for the Study of Developing Societies (CSDS), New Delhi, have been detained overnight in Sikkim capital Gangtok for conducting a post-poll survey in the State.
CSDS is one of the country’s leading social science research institutes.
Mukund Giri and another researcher were kept under detention at the Gangtok Sadar police station since Tuesday evening. An officer of the station on Wednesday said the detention followed a complaint received by the Sub-Divisional Magistrate. “There were some protests by locals about the survey and the two people have been taken under preventive detention,” the officer stated.
Mr. Giri said 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 a survey at Airthang in east Sikkim, a group of people surrounded them. We were brought to the police station and detained,” he said over telephone.
‘Permission not sought so far’
Mr. Giri maintained that the team had not sought any permission for the survey so far. Similar exercises were being carried in other northeastern States like Mizoram.
“We have carried out such surveys in the 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 have maintained that any exit poll, opinion poll or political survey is not allowed when the Model Code of Conduct is in place.
Elections to the 32 Assembly seats and one Lok Sabha seat in Sikkim were held on April 11.
“We have sought a report from eEast Sikkim district returning officer on the whole issue,” R. Telang, Chief Electoral Officer of the State, said.