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Booth trespass slur on Nagaland

Sivasagar, April 8: Tension prevailed on the Assam-Nagaland border at Borhula near Geleki in Sivasagar district after Nagaland tried to set up a polling booth on Assam’s territory.

Sources said Nagaland polling officials, escorted by five companies of security personnel, have been attempting since yesterday to set up a polling booth in the area.

Nagaland goes to polls tomorrow for the lone seat in the state and has been claiming a huge area under Geleki reserve forest as its territory.

“A huge contingent of Nagaland polling personal equipped with polling materials and escorted by five companies of security forces has been trying to set up a polling booth on Assam’s territory,” an official source said.

Assam has deployed additional security personnel in the border areas near Geleki.

“Assam police forces shall keep round the clock vigil at the border for the next 24 hours to thwart any move to create trouble by the residents of Nagaland,” an official source added.

Nazira sub-divisional police officer Asif Ahmed told The Telegraph that Assam police cordoned off the whole area as soon as they received information about the attempt.

Sivasagar superintendent of police Bijoy Kuligam said, “We received inputs that Nagaland was attempting to set the Number 1 Lahdoigarh polling booth in the Borhula area, which falls under Assam territory. A huge contingent of Assam police personnel has been deployed in the area and we have sealed all the roads connecting Assam with Nagaland.”

Sources said Nagaland has been trying to set up the polling booth that falls under Tamlu legislative Assembly constituency in Longleng district at Borhula.

“Nagaland has included the names of more than 300 residents of Borhula in its voter list,” a source said.

The sources said the polling team was aware of the presence of Assam police forces at the border.

“The team has been trying to enter Assam through an alternate route in view of the security measures taken by Assam police,” a source said.

During the previous Assembly elections of 2008 and 2013, Nagaland attempted to set up polling booths in the border areas.

The Sivasagar district administration, however, thwarted both the moves.

There are seven border outposts manned by Assam Police battalion in the area.

Local residents have, however, remained silent on the reported move of Nagaland.

Dipak Thapa, a resident of Janghal Basti near Borhula, said it makes no difference to them if their names were included in the voter list of Nagaland.

“Most of the residents living in the border areas are dependent on Nagaland for their bread and butter. Many are engaged in the coal business and we even buy our daily food from the markets at Nagaland,” he said.

Echoing the same view, Bholanath Gogoi of Janghalgaon said bad roads and lack of electricity in the area has forced them to get closer to Nagaland. “If we get better facilities and services from Nagaland government just by voting in their election, it’s better to vote in the neighbouring state,” said another resident.