Violence before Rabha polls - IED found, panchayat office, museum set on fire

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  • Published 11.11.13

Goalpara, Nov. 10: Violence continues in parts of the district before the first phase of the Rabha Hasong Autonomous Council (RHAC) polls this week.

While police recovered an IED from Dudhnai this morning, unknown men set fire to Husdoba panchayat office under Lakhipur police station and some tried to burn Rabha museum at Bhalukdubi, 7km from here, last night.

The police suspect the involvement of groups opposing the council polls behind these attacks.

The panchayat office falls under the council area.

“Miscreants splashed kerosene on the wooden doors and windows and set them on fire but it did not spread. Only the doors and widows were damaged. Following the incident, the police deployed the village defence party and increased patrolling in the area,” Goalpara police station officer-in-charge D. Ray said.

The violence took place less than 12 hours after Assam director-general of police J.N. Choudhury visited the trouble-torn district and claimed that security was in place for smooth conduct of the poll.

This is the first time that elections are held for the council since it was constituted in 2005.

Non-Rabha groups, however, are opposing the election and demanding exclusion of villages with less than 50 per cent of Rabha population before holding the polls.

The groups stepped up protests after the state election commission announced a three-phase election on November 13, 16 and 25. There are around 3.75 lakh voters comprising parts of Goalpara and Kamrup districts.

The police recovered an IED, weighing about 2kg, in Dudhnai on Sunday morning. The bomb expert rushed to the spot and defused it.

“We got the information at 8.50am and rushed to the spot. We recovered it from a small shop inside a bag. We informed the bomb expert. They came and defused the IED,” Dudhnai police station officer-in-charge Sailen Bora said.

Goalpara superintendent of police, Nitul Gogoi, however, denied the involvement of any militant groups in placing the IED. “We are yet to be confirmed whether it was an IED or not. It seems to be some explosive materials,” Gogoi said.

Political parties in the council areas are gearing up for the first-phase of the polls.