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Several killed in Panchayat poll violence in Assam

Posted on Feb 13, 10:23AM | UNI

Guwahati, Feb 12 : Several people, including women, have been reportedly killed in police firing and factional clashes in Rabha Hasong Autonomous Council (RHAC) areas in western Assam's Goalpara district today during the third and final phase of Panchayat election in the state.

Reports from Goalpara said police had to resort to firing in the air at several places in the RHAC areas when agitating people tried to stall polling.

At least 11 people are reported to have been killed in these incidents, though the official confirmation is still awaited.

The protestors, armed with sticks and sharp-edged weapons, stormed polling booths at several places in the district after voting began this morning amid a heavy security cordon.

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.

Council polls for the RHAC are slated for April end.

The protestors burnt ballot boxes, vehicles and polling booths, mostly schools, and also attacked and injured a few security personnel.

To control the mob, police fired in which nine people were reportedly killed in different parts, including Dudhnoi, Kasakol, Kotharmuri and Silkul.

Two others were killed in clashes between Rabha and non-Rabha people.

The administration is now evacuating its polling officials from the sensitive areas as hundreds of protestors have assembled across the RHAC areas at different points.

Top security officials are camping in Goalpara and overseeing the security scenario.

A series of incidents of torching of schools, panchayat offices, bridges and other infrastructure had preceded today's incident.