Meghalaya: First municipal polls in adjourned

A collapse of the law and order prompted the Meghalaya government to adjourn the first ever municipal elections in the state.

Shillong: A collapse of the law and order
prompted the Meghalaya government to adjourn the first ever
municipal elections in the state, with anti-poll activists
hijacking the election process in three districts of the Garo
hills where polls to the four municipalities were slated for
today.

"There were a number of disturbances since last night.
The administration, after assessing the ground situation,
considered that there was a strong possibility of disruption
of the polling process as well as serious implication of law
and order. So the government though it prudent to adjourn the
elections," Chief Secretary W M S Pariat said.

"Many people have been arrested in connection with the
incidents," the chief secretary said.

Chief Minister Mukul Sangma said the government was
awaiting a detailed report.

"The report will be taken up by the cabinet which will
decide on the further course," Sangma said.

Miscreants hurled a petrol bomb at the residence of
East Garo Hills deputy commissioner Pravin Bakshi last night,
but fortunately it did not explode, police sources said.

Mobs were reported at several places across the three
districts of East, West and South Garo Hills since late last
evening.

Over a dozen polling booths were gheraoed by anti-poll
activists and the polling personnel dragged out and threatened
last night.

A candidate’s vehicle was set on fire by miscreants at
Resubelpara in East Garo Hills, while boulders and felled
trees were used to block roads.

Despite deployment of police and paramilitary forces,
cases of arson were also reported at some government offices,
besides incidents of stone pelting.

In Williamnagar, arsonists set ablaze a Soil
Department jeep and the Sales Tax Office last night.

A bridge at Dawagre in Williamnagar was also set
ablaze.

The Joint Action Committee, a conglomerate of several
organizations, has called for a three-day bandh from Wednesday
in the three districts objecting to the municipal elections.

The JAC was apprehensive that the elections `would be
violative of the Sixth Schedule of the Constitution and lead
to erosion of powers of the traditional bodies like the
Council of Nokma (Village Council)`.

-PTI

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