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Five killed in Assam panchayat poll violence


Guwahati: At least five people were killed in police firing to contain violence, related to ongoing panchayat polls in Assam’s Goalpara district Tuesday morning, police said.

“While three people were killed in Dhupdhara area, one person was killed in Krishnai area of the district. Another person was killed in Rangjuli area,” Assam’s Principal Secretary (Home) G.D. Tripathy said.

Tripathy said that the security personnel had to resort to firing as mob attacked the polling officials who had gone to the areas to conduct the third round of panchayat polls.

“The security forces had to resort to use of force and firing as they cannot see polling officials being lynched by the angry mob.”

Sources in the Goalpara district administration said that indefinite curfew has been imposed in some violence affected areas.

Anticipating violence during the polls, the state government had earlier deployed 23 companies of security forces in Goalpara district and another 20 companies in the Rabha Hasong areas in South Kamrup.

Tension gripped the entire Rabha Hasong Autonomous Council (RHAC) areas since Monday, ahead of the panchayat elections scheduled for Tuesday.

Sporadic violence swept across the area and protesting people blocked roads leading to polling stations set up by the government machinery.

Thousands of people also took to the streets since Monday to enforce a “janata curfew” (public curfew) to stop the polling officials in Goalpara and parts of Kamrup from reaching their respective polling stations.

The Rabhas habe been opposing the panchayat polls in RHAC areas and demanding that the election to the RHAC must be held first.

The state government, however, decided to hold the panchayat polls in the entire state citing constitutional obligations.