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First-ever municipal polls in Meghalaya
Shillong, Oct 28:
Published on 28 Oct. 2010 11:07 PM IST
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The ruling Congress-led Meghalaya government is all set to conduct the first-ever municipal elections in three districts of Garo Hills despite violent protest from the Joint Action Committee (JAC) for holding the elections.
The municipal elections to the Tura, Williamnagar, Baghmara and Resubelpara municipal boards will be held Friday even as the JAC decided to continue with its shutdown till October 30. The shutdown began October 27 which paralyzed the entire Garo Hills region.
The JAC is opposed to holding the civic polls to the Tura, Williamnagar, Baghmara and Resubelpara municipal board, fearing the elections would dilute the power and functions of the Nokma -- clan head of the village.
In August 27, 2004, the government conducted civic polls to the Resubelpara Municipal Board. However, courts declared the polls null and void as these were not held in conformity with the provisions of section 15A of the Meghalaya Municipal Act.
On Thursday night, police officials said, JAC supporters set on fire government and private vehicles, Taxation office and two wooden road bridges in the three districts. The protesters also set on fire a Congress Party office in Williamnagar, the district headquarters of East Garo Hills.
“JAC supporters lobbed petrol bombs on a police mini bus, taxation office and Congress bhavan in Williamnagar. They also burnt two wooden bridges at Nengkhra and Rongreng,” Pravin Bakshi, East Garo Hills district deputy commissioner, said.
He, however, said fire tenders doused the fire before it could destroy the entire government office, congress bhavan and the two bridges.No one has been arrested in the incident but police have registered two cases against the JAC for the incidents, he said.
In Tura, the district headquarters of the West Garo Hills, JAC supporters set on fire two private-owned vehicle and two-wheelers. However, police arrested five JAC members suspected to be involved in arsons.
“Police have registered cases against them,” Sanjay K Goyal, the district deputy commissioner said.
A government jeep in Baghmara, the district headquarters of South Garo Hills too was set on fire by JAC supporters in protest against holding of the municipal polls.

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