Dhubri, March 1: Though panchayat elections ended with the declaration of results yesterday, poll-related violence continues to affect lives in the South Salmara-Mancachar subdivision of Dhubri district. In a fresh incident of violence, alleged Congress supporters torched seven houses belonging to AIUDF supporters at Sonapur village near the border under Mancachar police station in Dhubri district early this morning.
A police source said the arsonists set the houses ablaze around 2.30am and that some of these were gutted before fire tenders could reach the spot. Property and cash worth Rs 50 lakh were lost in the fire.
A BSF official at Mancachar said BSF jawans from the nearby border outpost first saw the blaze and rushed in to try and douse the fire. The incident has been related to the prevailing tension in the area over the defeat of Congressís Farzana Islam in the contest to the Kakripara zilla parishad seat at the hands of AUIDFís Mehnaz Hussain. According to reports, the Congress is finding it hard to digest the result.
Sources said Farzana was the sister-in-law of Javed Islam, a Congress legislator and son of former minister, late Zehirul Islam, and that the latter had backed her with all his might as it was more of a prestige fight for him, Kakripara being his home turf. But her defeat at the hands of Mehnaz came as a shock and a source of humiliation.
The sources attributed the defeat to a rift among the Congress leaders of the subdivision. They said Islamís supporters had been seething with frustration after the loss and this had resulted in the torching of the houses at Sonapur. AIUDF central committee general secretary Aminul Islam alleged that goons of local Congress legislator Javed Islam had set the houses on fire out of frustration.
He said supporters of the local legislator had also threatened the residents of Sonapur yesterday morning and then torched the houses late in the night. They even cut the pipe of a fire tender, he said, adding that it was only after the arrival of BSF jawans and a second fire tender that the fire was doused.
Islam said the blaze had caused extensive damage, burning livestock and property worth Rs 50 lakh.
Of nine zilla parishad seats in the South Salmara-Mancachar subdivision, the Congress and the AIUDF won four seats each, while one went to an Independent. AIUDF secured a simple majority in the Dhubri zilla parishad, with the Congress down to a mere 10 members. While AIUDF secured 16 seats, Congress bagged 10, AGP one, BJP one and one seat went to an Independent candidate.