Assam poll violence toll rises to 20

Last Updated: Wed, Feb 13, 2013 09:11 hrs

Guwahati: The death toll in the Assam panchayat polls rose to 20 with the clashes reported from Goalpara district in lower region on Wednesday.

Four bodies were found at Rakhyasini area in the trouble torn district on Tuesday night.

At least 14 people were killed in police firing and six others died in group clashes, which continued in the district between Rabha communities and non-Rabha communities.

Rabha community people had protested against holding the panchayat poll in Rabha Hasong Autonomous Council (RHAC) areas.

The army had conducted flag march in several places in RHAC areas.

"Army has been called for controlling the situation and curfew had been imposed," said Assam state government Home Secretary G D Tripathy.

On the other hand, miscreants had torched at least 70 houses in three villages under Krishnai police station on Tuesday night.

Meanwhile, three ministers of the state government had rushed to the arson hit district and discussed with the leaders of several organizations.

The Assam government said that eight people were killed in police firing incidents during the clashes between protesters and security forces.

Police said the protesters blocked roads, attacked polling officials, security personnel, polling booths, set ablaze ballot boxes during the third phase of panchayat polls in Rabha Hasong Autonomous Council (RHAC) areas.

According to reports, at least nine people were killed and 30 others injured in police firing incidents and three others were killed during clash between tribal groups and non-tribal groups on Tuesday.

Several organizations have called public curfew in RHAC areas protest against holding the panchayat poll.

"We have reported that, eight people were killed in police firing incidents," said Assam state government Parliamentary Secretary Bhupen Bora.

"The incidents took place at several areas under Dudhnoi and Krishnai police station, following the protesters had attacked polling stations and set ablaze vehicles, ballot boxes, several houses," Bora said.

The firing and group clashes incidents occurred at several areas under Dudhnoi and Krishnai police stations, in which four people were killed in Bekipul area, three each in Kahibari and Dhanubhanga areas, two each in Kachadol and Rakhyasini areas and one died in Chiluk.

The deceased people were identified as Nikon Rabha, Panchami Rabha, Pradeep Rabha, Helbong Rabha, Barebala Rabha, Aloka Rabha, Bengbeng Rabha, Bichitra Rabha, Tapan Rabha, Ambhu Rabha, Dharanidhar Rabha and Amrit Rabha.

"Thousand protesters came out with sharp weapons and lathis and blockade road, attacked polling officials, voters, security personnel in several police stations," a district administration official said.

Meanwhile, at least five security personnel including a army officer and two police officers were injured attacked by protesters in the district.

The injured people had rushed to the Goalpara civil hospital.

In separate incidents, miscreants set ablaze five security forces vehicles, three primary schools and eight ballot boxes on Tuesday.

Miscreants torched at least 30 houses at Khataripara village under Krishnai police station.

In separate incidents, miscreants also sneaked weapons from security personnel at Dudhnoi and Krishnai areas.

At least 26 companies of army and para military forces have been deployed in the arson hit district.

The Assam government has announced a compensation of Rs 5 lakh for the families of the deceased and Rs 50,000 for injured people.

The Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi said that, the state government will construct the houses, which were torched by miscreants.

Meanwhile, the Asom Gana Parishad (AGP) had blamed the state government for violence in the RHAC areas.

(Reporting by Hemanta Kumar Nath)

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