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Hyderabad: FIR Against Madhavi Latha For Checking Muslim Woman's ID Card Inside Polling Booth

The incident, captured on video, sparked controversy amid the Lok Sabha elections. Despite her defense of checking voter IDs, authorities emphasized candidates have no right to check id's
02:18 PM May 13, 2024 IST | Aniket Raj
hyderabad  fir against madhavi latha for checking muslim woman s id card inside polling booth
Madhavi Latha

Kompella Madhavi Latha, a prominent candidate for the BJP in Hyderabad, is in hot water following a video where she was seen requesting veiled Muslim women at a polling station to unveil their faces for identification purposes, aligning them with the photos on their voter ID cards.

The BJP candidate was captured on video asking burqa-clad Muslim women inside the polling booth to remove their veils and verify their identities along with checking their voter ID cards. Consequently, the police have registered a case against Madhavi Latha, the BJP candidate, at the Malakpet Police Station under Hyderabad constituency. The case has been filed under sections 171C, 186, 505(1)(c) of the IPC, and Section 132 of the Representation of the People Act.

Ms. Madhavi Latha is garnering significant attention as one of the most discussed candidates in the ongoing fourth phase of Lok Sabha polls. She faces a formidable opponent in the form of Asaduddin Owaisi, the four-time MP from Hyderabad and chief of the AIMIM party.

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According to District Election Officer Ronald Ross, no candidate possesses the authority to lift someone's veil to confirm their identity. If there are any doubts, a candidate can request the polling officer to verify a voter's identity.

The BJP candidate has countered the allegations, stating to news agency ANI that candidates are within their rights to verify voter ID cards. She argued that as a candidate, she has the authority to check ID cards without face masks. She clarified that she approached the situation with humility and respect, emphasizing her gender and intention.

Mr. Owaisi has not yet responded directly to the incident, but he has shared the viral video on his Twitter timeline.

The BJP candidate has raised concerns about discrepancies in the voter's list, alleging that police personnel at the polling station are not being proactive in checking voter identities. She criticized their lack of diligence, claiming that names of senior citizen voters have been omitted from the list.

The viral videos come amidst a highly polarized contest in Hyderabad, a seat dominated by Muslim voters and a stronghold of the Owaisi family. Leading up to the election, Ms. Madhavi Latha expressed hope for support from Muslim voters, citing BJP's stance on issues like triple talaq and employment opportunities for Muslim youth. However, the controversy surrounding the videos is likely to impact her efforts to reach out to minority voters.

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