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Picketing opposing civic polls ignored in Meghalaya
Correspondent SHILLONG, OCT 26:
Published on 27 Oct. 2010 12:25 AM IST
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The office-picketing in Meghalaya’s Garo Hills region today called by the Joint Action Committee (JAC) in protest against the municipal elections was largely ignored by government employees.
Almost 90 per cent attendance in all government offices were recorded in East, West and Garo Hills districts, a government official said, adding that there were no reports of any untoward incidents during the office-picketing.
However, the JAC claimed that the first-day of the five-day long agitation programme was ‘successful one’. “That’s the government’s version (on 90 per cent attendance), but the government employees have responded positively to the picketing, thus indicating that they are opposing the municipal elections,” JAC leader R Momin said.
On October 18, the State Cabinet decided to hold the municipal elections in Tura, Williamnagar, Baghmara and Resubelpara municipal boards on October 29.
The JAC comprising of seven organisations, including the Nokma Council, a traditional tribal Garo body and the influential Garo Students’ Union (GSU) opposed the civic polls contending that the elections would dilute the powers and functions of the traditional bodies. The Gauhati High Court ruling on a petition filed by GSU on the issue had been still pending.
The JAC had also called for a bandh from October 27 to 30 to prevent the smooth conduct of polls.
Prohibitory orders under Section 144 of CrPC had been issued to prevent carrying of weapons, movements in groups, and incitement to violence and intimidation. Magisterial and police teams had been formed for intense patrolling of municipal areas.
“We are firm with our decision. There is no question of putting the elections on hold, again,” Urban Affairs Minister Prestone Tynsong said.
He said the primary objective in holding the civic polls is to provide people with an elected body in the four municipal boards of the Garo Hills. “With no elected body in place, affairs of the Board are being managed by people nominated by the government,”
On the writ petition filed by the GSU, Tynsong said let the high court give the verdict on whether holding of municipal elections in areas under purview of the Sixth Scheduled is illegal.

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