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Poll turmoil warning blips on Dispur radar

Guwahati, May 2: Alerted by the Election Commission, Dispur has prepared a blueprint to tackle a possible outbreak of violence in parts of the state after the declaration of results on May 11.

The government has identified the Bodo Territorial Council-administered districts and Karbi Anglong as the most “most vulnerable” areas and some minorities-dominated pockets of Lower Assam and the Barak Valley as “sensitive”.

“The stakes are high and the poll battle could turn out to be a close one. It is a recipe for trouble,” a senior police official said.

He revealed that the police department had already sent the relevant information to Dispur.

The additional paramilitary forces that had been deployed for polling might have to be brought back in the next few days to bolster the security apparatus.

Counting of votes polled in the 126 Assembly seats constituencies will be done in 47 centres.

The official said six districts were identified as potential troublespots during a meeting of senior police officials and bureaucrats in Guwahati yesterday. Kokrajhar, North Cachar Hills and Karbi Anglong were categorised as “most vulnerable” and Dhubri, Hailakandi and Karimganj as “sensitive”. The twin districts of Baksa and Udalguri ' both under the BTC ' were marked as “special cases”.

The Election Commission has asked the government to properly scan representatives of various political parties and candidates before giving them passes to work as counting agents.

Dispur is understood to have asked Delhi to send back at least 50 of the paramilitary companies that were withdrawn from the state for deployment in West Bengal, Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Pondicherry.

At present, there are 25 companies of the CRPF to guard the 18,718 electronic voting machines used in the Assam elections.

The Assam Rifles has been deployed in Karbi Anglong, while the army is keeping vigil on the North Cachar Hills.

“Instructions have been issued to all superintendents of police regarding the steps to be taken to prevent any trouble after the election results are declared,” a source said.

Militant groups are most likely to foment trouble in Karbi Anglong and the North Cachar Hills, while the intense rivalry between the two factions of the Bodo People’s Progressive Front is the source of concern in the BTC-administered districts.

There could also be security-related problems in pockets inhabited by minorities, particularly those along the Indo-Bangladesh boundary.

“Never before ' at least not in recent years ' were polls so keenly contested in Assam. Elections 2006 also saw religious issues coming to the fore,” the source said.

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