The police fired in the air to control a mob that vandalized two polling booths and burnt ballot papers during the Karbi Anglong Autonomous Council (KAAC) election in Assam on Wednesday, officials said. Altogether 56.32 per cent of the 7,03,298 voters exercised their franchise to elect 26 representatives, an official of the Assam State Election Commission said.
West Karbi Anglong Deputy Commissioner Krishna Baruah and Superintendent of Police Imdad Ali had to rush to the polling station at Punja LP School in the Duar Amla constituency. Baruah told reporters that a repoll will take place for both booths on June 10.
“The mob burnt ballot papers in the two booths despite the police force trying its best. It was an unfortunate incident. We had to fire in the air. We will probe into the violence,” Ali said. The violence broke out after local people came to know that the rubber stamp used in the voting was lost. They broke the furniture of the school and snatched ballot boxes after indulging in a scuffle with the police.
The mob then broke open the ballot boxes and burnt the used ballot papers in front of the polling stations inside the school premises. The polling was being conducted through ballot papers as the rule to use electronic voting machines (EVMs) was not enacted by the Council.
The counting of votes in the KAAC elections will be held on June 12. The election to the KAAC was held for the first time after the signing of a peace agreement with five insurgent groups of Karbi Anglong district in September 2021, the third such accord inked with militants of the hill district. The earlier two agreements were signed in 1995 and 2011. With the signing of the Karbi Anglong Agreement last year, over 1000 militants surrendered while a ‘Special Development Package’ of Rs 1,000 crore over five years was announced for the development of Karbi areas.
Along with the KAAC polling, the by-election to the Koklabari constituency in the Baksa district of the Bodoland Territorial Council was also held on Wednesday. The by-poll was necessitated after UPPL president Pramod Boro won both Goibari and Koklabari seats in the 2020 BTC polls and vacated the latter.