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Riot-hit flock to booths

Kokrajhar, April 24: Riot-affected people turned out in large numbers to cast their votes and choose a leader who would ensure their safety.

“This election holds extra importance for us. We want a government that can ensure our safety,” said Rani Basumatary of Lakhigaon in Gossaigaon subdivision of Kokrajhar district, after casting her vote at Tulsibil LP School.

Samidul Islam of Aaibandar Mushalmanpara said, “I am a bit nervous as I am voting for the first time but at the same time I am happy that my vote will count in choosing a leader and government.”

Lakhigaon and Mushalmanpara were among the worst-affected villages during the Bodo-Muslim riots in the Bodoland Territorial Areas District in July and August 2012, which claimed 103 lives and displaced 4.85 lakh people of both the communities.

“Safety and security is our top concern. It is the duty of the parties and leaders ruling the state and the country to provide security to people. We are not asking for food and shelter, but security for our lives and property. We hope the new government will do that,” said Budhbari Basumatary, an elderly woman from Amingaon, another village affected in the riots.

At Mushalmanpara polling station, people from both the communities were seen helping each other, offering water from jugs to others.

Voting here started late around 10am after a snag was found in the EVM during a mock poll.

“There is a sense of insecurity among the people after the riots. We want the new government to see that everyone lives in peace and without fear,” said Mohd Akash Ali, a villager.

“Parties and candidates have promised this. We hope they will provide us a normal life,” a voter added.


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