Dead Toll Rises to 20 in Panchayat Poll Violence

The death toll rose to 20 in Panchayat Poll violence in lower Assam’s Goalpara district on Wednesday.

Four bodies were found at Rakhyasini area in the trouble-district on Tuesday night.

14 people were killed in police encounter incident and six others died in group clashes, which continued in the district between Rabha communities and non-Rabha communities as Rabha community people luanched a protest against holding the Panchayat Poll in Rabha Hasong Autonomous Council (RHAC) areas.

The army marched in several places in RHAC areas.

“The Army has been called to control the situation and curfew was imposed,” said Assam state government Home secretary G D Tripathy.

Meanwhile, miscreants torched at least 70 houses in three villages under Krishnai police station on Tuesday night, officials said.

Meanwhile, three ministers of the state government rushed to the arson marked district and discussed the issue with the leaders of several organizations.

The Assam state government said eight people were killed in police firing incidents during the clashes between protesters and security forces reported so far, following the protesters blocked roads, attacked polling officials, security personnel, polling booths, set ablaze ballot boxes during the third phase of panchayat polls in Rabha Hasong Autonomous Council (RHAC) areas.

According to reports, at least 9 people were killed and 30 others injured in police firing incidents and three others were killed during clash between tribal groups and non-tribal groups on Tuesday.

Several organizations have called public for curfew in RHAC areas protest against holding the Panchayat Poll.

“We have reported eight people were killed in police firing incidents,” said Assam state government Parliamentary Secretary Bhupen Bora.

The incidents took place at several areas under Dudhnoi and Krishnai police station, following the protesters had attacked polling stations and set ablaze vehicles, ballot boxes, and several houses.

The group clashes incidents occurred at several areas under Dudhnoi and Krishnai police station, in which four people were killed in Bekipul area, three each in Kahibari and Dhanubhanga area, two each in Kachadol and Rakhyasini area and one people died in Chiluk.

The victims were identified as Nikon Rabha, Panchami Rabha, Pradeep Rabha, Helbong Rabha, Barebala Rabha, Aloka Rabha, Bengbeng Rabha, Bichitra Rabha, Tapan Rabha, Ambhu Rabha, Dharanidhar Rabha and Amrit Rabha.

“Thousand protesters came out with sharp weapons and lathis and blockade road, attacked polling officials, voters, security personnel in several police stations,” a district administration official said.

Meanwhile, at least five security personnel including a army officer and two police officers were injured.

The injured people were rushed to the Goalpara civil hospital.

In separate incidents, miscreants set ablaze five security forces vehicles, three primary schools and eight ballot boxes on Tuesday.

Miscreants torched at least 30 houses at Khataripara village under Krishnai police station.

In separate incidents, miscreants also sneaked weapons from security personnel at Dudhnoi and Krishnai area.

26 companies of army and para military forces have been deployed in the arson marked district.

Meanwhile, the Assam state government has announced a compensation of Rs 5 lakh for the families of the victims and Rs 50,000 for injured people.

The Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi said the state government will construct the houses, which were torched by miscreants.

Meanwhile, the Asom Gana Parishad (AGP) blamed the state government for violence in the RHAC areas.

Hemanta Kumar Nath is a correspondent in Assam, India, who reports on local news in Assam, the north east Indian state.