The Telegraph
Thursday , April 10 , 2014
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Attempt to set up booths foiled


Sivasagar, April 9: Assam has foiled moves by Arunachal Pradesh and Nagaland to set up polling booths in disputed areas on its territory, official sources said today.

Sources said Nagaland had made an attempt to set up a booth at Borhula near Geleky in Sivasagar district, while Arunachal made a similar attempt to set up two polling booths in the border areas near Kanubari in Charaideo subdivision.

Both Nagaland and Arunachal held parliamentary polls today.

The Sivasagar district administration had deployed a huge contingent of armed police personnel and officials to thwart any move by the neighbouring states to set up booths.

Nazira sub-divisional police officer Asif Ahmed said polling officials from Nagaland, accompanied by armed security personnel, arrived in Borhula this morning to set up a polling station at number 1 Ladigarh, which falls under Tamlu Assembly constituency in Longleng district. “We did not allow them to enter and forced them to retreat,” he said. The booth has 305 voters.

Similar attempts by Nagaland were foiled by the Sivasagar district administration during the 2008 and 2013 Assembly elections in the neighbouring state.

Confirming these reports, Yanger Jamir, additional superintendent of police, Longleng, told The Telegraph over phone that the polling and security teams returned to Yanglak village in Nagaland after they were not allowed to set up the booth. “We have already informed the higher authorities about the incident and are awaiting further instructions.”

He said, “Polling was conducted at the number 1 Ladigarh polling booth in the 2004 parliamentary elections in Nagaland. However, polling could not be conducted there in the 2008 and 2013 Assembly elections owing to objections raised by Assam.”

The Sivasagar administration also claimed to have foiled attempts by Arunachal to set up two polling booths at Hasse Russa and Kamkuh Russa, near Kanubari in the district.

“Arunachal Pradesh had attempted to set up the booths inside Assam territory but their polling officials did not turn up today because of the deployment of a huge contingent of armed police and administration officials,” an official source said.

Both the booths are located 2km from the border in the disputed Kanubari and Charaipung areas under Charaipung police station. The polling booths, number 14 Hasserussa primary school and number 13 Kamkuh primary school, fall under number 58 Kanubari Assembly constituency of Arunachal East parliamentary seat.

Sivasagar additional deputy commissioner, Amitabh Rajkhowa, said the area has been classified a non-cadastral village and was about 2km from the inter-state border. “We did not see any Arunachal polling officials set up booths today. Additional security forces were deployed as a precautionary measure to thwart any move by the neighbouring state to set up booths.”

Arunachal polling officials later conducted polls for the two booths at a private residence near the border. Sources said polling was conducted at Ashim Basti in Kanubari, just inside the border on the Arunachal side. Hasserussa and Kamkuh booths have 393 and 161 voters respectively.

Assam had requested Arunachal Pradesh to abide by a 2002 Supreme Court ruling and refrain from setting up polling booths in disputed border areas. The apex court had ruled that the states could continue polling from booths set up inside disputed areas prior to 1991 but could not set up new booths. Assam shares a 23km border with Arunachal in Sivasagar district and regular incidents of trouble along the border have been reported in recent times. The state also shares a 78km border with Nagaland in Sivasagar district. Recent skirmishes have hit inter-state relations and several rounds of dialogues have been held to maintain peace in the border areas.