People defied threats from naxal terrorists and stood in long lines for over two hours, endured clinical security screening, and followed intense Election Commission restrictions to vote in large numbers in naxal-infested areas of West Bengal (WB). Over 70% of voters in many areas vote in WB including hilly stretches largely under the control of the terrorists who could strike at will.
However, tight security arrangements bolstered by commandos in armed vehicles, strict vehicular screening, allowing only voters with election ID cards, disallowing gathering of people outside polling booths ensured that voting was peaceful and effective but painfully slow. But people, confident that their votes were important to chart out their future, did not seem to mind.
However, there was innate fear in people of the terrorists who may descend on them and massacre groups in retribution for disobeying their dictates to boycott the polls. They traveled between villages in groups tightly clasping their voter ID cards nervously glancing at passing vehicles.