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Civic polls in Garo Hills despite opposition

By Correspondent

TURA, Oct 26 � The administration in the three Garo Hills districts have made elaborate arrangements to thwart attempts by student and social organisations to prevent the October 29 elections to four municipal boards even as nearly 10,000 Class X students face an uncertain fate over their Pre-Board examinations.

The NGOs under the banner of the Joint Action Committee (JAC) are demanding the scrapping of the municipal elections on the grounds it will violate the custodian laws of the traditional chiefs such as the Nokmas.

The Government wants to go ahead with the polls so as to avail Central funds to the tune of several crore rupees for development of the municipal towns.

The JAC has called for a bandh in the Garo Hills from tomorrow upto October 30 while the government has invoked Section 144 CrPC and urged contesting candidates to go ahead with their campaign and the voters to come out and vote.

Barring Tura which has a considerable presence of pro-election supporters, the government is apprehensive of East and South Garo Hills districts where also municipal polls will take place.

The ongoing Class X examinations stand in jeopardy because it clashes with the dates for the total shutdown called by the NGOs which includes the Garo Students Union.

The district administration of East Garo Hills has made elaborate security arrangements to tackle the proposed picketing of offices in Williamnagar and Resubelpara on October 26 and the bandh which will follow thereafter. The Deputy Commissioner had several rounds of meetings with magistrates and police, departmental heads of East Garo Hills and candidates for the ensuing municipal elections.

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