Assam CM condemns Panchayat poll violence
Guwahati, Feb 12 : Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi today condemned the violence in Rabha Hasong Autonomous Council (RHAC) areas in western Assam during Panchayat poll voting, which has left eight dead so far, and announced ex-gratia for the victims.
Mr Gogoi, in a statement here, said the violent incidents that took place in Rabha Hasong areas today were most unfortunate.
He said the Government has to hold the Panchayat elections in the Rabha Hasong areas 'as it considers it to be its constitutional duty.'
The government has already announced dates RHAC polls in April-end, the Chief Minister added.
He said polling will be held at a later date in areas where it is not possible to hold polling today.
The Chief Minister announced that the Government would pay ex-gratia for Rs 5 lakh each to the kin of the deceased and Rs 50,000 each to those who sustained injuries.
The government would also provide compensation to those whose houses were either partially or fully damaged, he added.
Rabha bodies have been opposing Panchayat polls in the Council areas, though the state government has made it clear that it was legally bound to hold the village-level polls in RHAC as it is not under the Sixth Schedule of the Constitution.
A series of incidents of torching of schools, panchayat offices, bridges and other infrastructure had preceded today's incidents.
As polling commenced this morning, protestors tried to storm polling stations, damaging and torching ballot boxes and vehicles.
They also attacked polling officials and security personnel, leading to police firing in at least four polling stations that have claimed eight lives so far.
Two people were also reportedly killed in clashes between protestors and voters, though official word is awaited on the incident.
Curfew has also been imposed in some areas under Krishnai police station of Goalpara district as a precautionary measure.