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Dual cards used in hill belt

Tura, Feb. 26: The Federation of Khasi, Jaintia and Garo People (FKJGP) in a complaint to deputy commissioner of West Garo Hills has given startling revelations on dual voters in plain belt areas of the Garo hills neighbouring Assam districts.

The complaint stated that many voters in Phulbari and its adjoining areas have dual election ID cards of both Meghalaya and Assam.

It also stated that one of them is general secretary of a village employment council that has been set up in the Garo hills for implementation of various rural development schemes.

The finding states that Khabirul Islam Mondal has an elector’s photo identity card (EPIC) of Meghalaya as well as that of Assam. His photo ID card number of the Meghalaya ID card is FTB0646141 and that of Assam is GCL1260293.

His wife, Jinnatara, has a Meghalaya ID card with EPIC number FTB0646190 and an Assam ID card with EPIC number GCL1260306.

Shahjahan Mondal, another villager, has EPIC number FTB0669861 on his Meghalaya ID card and GCL1260475 on his Assam ID card.

Khabirul was recently appointed the secretary of the Nimaikata village employment council in Garo hills.

Bappun Sangma, an activist of the federation, said: “We have raised the issue several times but nothing much has been done by the administration. We have proofs to substantiate our claims. We urge the government to investigate the matter.”

Treepon Sangma, another federation activist, said: “This is just the tip of an iceberg and we are unravelling more from the information we have.”

The organisation claimed that there are 2,000 voters in Phulbari constituency who have dual voters’ cards.

Congress MLA Abu Taheer Mondal represents Phulbari in Meghalaya Assembly and is also the Speaker.

Joining the chorus, the Anti Corruption League (ACL), an organisation based in New Bhaitbari, also sought government intervention on dual voters issue. The general secretary of the league, Mostapha Kabir, said: “Our lands are occupied by migrants from neighbouring Assam. Taking advantage of floods, they seek refuge and later settle here illegally. It is shocking that these people were given voter-ID cards.”

Lalmati village near Hallidayganj in the West Garo Hills, nearly 70km from Tura, is an example.

“In 2008, there were 90 households but now there are more than 2,000 households,” Kabir said. “The original inhabitants of the area are facing difficulties because of largescale migration in plain belt areas of the Garo hills from Assam.”

“There has to be a definitive and strong action against these people who are taking advantage of the system. If such things are allowed to continue, the situation may just go beyond control. They have illegally managed to get job cards, voter ID cards and other documents while enjoying right to franchise in Assam,” Bappun said.


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