Municipal polls: Half of Meghalaya shutdown

Last Updated: Tuesday, September 14, 2010 - 14:05

Shillong: A two-day shutdown in three
districts of Garo hills called by a group of organizations
protesting the proposed first ever municipal elections in
Meghalaya evoked response Tuesday, paralyzing normal life.

Educational institutions, business establishments as
well as government offices were closed and vehicular movement
was thin, East Garo Hills deputy commissioner Pravin Bakshi
said.

He said adequate security personnel were deployed at
sensitive places to prevent any untoward incident.

The shutdown call also evoked response in several
pockets of West Garo Hills.

While no picketing activities were observed, West Garo
Hills deputy commissioner Sanjay Goyal said the administration
has decided salary cut for those government officials who did
not report for duty.

The Joint Action Committee, a conglomerate of several
organizations, have announced a two-day non-cooperation
movement in the three districts of Garo hills from today
against holding of the elections in the four municipalties of
Garo hills slated for September 29. The JAC is demanding
demarcation of the municipal areas before conducting the
elections.

Proscribed Khasi militant outfit Hynniewtrep National
Liberation Council (HNLC) had warned people of dire
consequences if they participated in the proposed municipal
elections.

Earlier, the Gauhati High Court had issued a notice to
the government on a petition by the Garo Students Union which
challenged the municipal polls contending, following the 1992
amendment in the Constitution, panchayat and municipal
provisions do not extend to the tribal areas which are under
Sixth Schedule.

In Shillong, Urban Affairs Principal Secretary Prashant
Naik ruled out postponing of the municipal elections. We
don’t understand why they are opposing the elections. They
should wait for the court verdict instead of announcing any
agitation, he said.

Since the Supreme Court Notification in 2000, there
have been at least two attempts to hold the civic body
election in the State but on both the government could not go
ahead due to opposition from certain quarters on the ground
that such an attempt will dilute the credibility of the
traditional institutions in the State.

There had been no municipality election in the State
since it attained statehood and nominated administrator of the
State Government governs the Municipality Boards.

After the Supreme Court had directed the state
government to hold the municipal elections following a
petition filed by the Non Tribal Youth Union, the government
in November 2000 issued notifications for holding elections.
Only one person, a Shillong-based businessman, Ananta Dey,
filed nominations. However, he was shot dead by suspected
militants.

PTI



First Published: Tuesday, September 14, 2010 - 14:05

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