Arrests fuel trouble fears

Dhubri, Feb. 2: The arrest of two leaders belonging to two fronts of Rabha Hasong organisations yesterday could aggravate the already volatile situation in the run-up to panchayat elections.

The Rabha Hasong Joint Movement Forum is all set to launch a civil disobedience movement from Monday till February 12 which is likely to foment fresh trouble.

Forum leaders alleged that the arrests of Lala unit president of the Sixth Schedule Demand Committee, Siddhinath Rabha, and leader of the All Rabha Students' Union (Arsu), Jadu Rabha, besides heavy deployment of security forces to conduct the elections, had sent the message to the protesters that the government would conduct polls at any cost.

"The Goalpara district administration has demanded 34 companies of security forces, of which 22 companies have already been deployed. More companies will arrive for the last phase of panchayat polls in Goalpara and Kamrup," a leader of the forum alleged.

When contacted, Arsu president Tonkeswar Rabha alleged that the government wanted to hold the elections under the barrel of the gun and it might mobilise 34 companies of security forces as polls in other parts of the state would be over by then.

"It is a wrong notion and government's effort to conduct the elections under blanket security cover will fall flat as people of Rabha Hasong community have already registered their protest against the panchayat polls. More protests will be organised with the beginning of a civil disobedience programme from February 4," Rabha said.

Rabha also warned the government that the situation may turn volatile if any more leaders were arrested.

The forum has already appealed to people in the Rabha Hasong Autonomous Council area not to vote in the panchayat polls.

The forum alleged that the panchayat elections in the council area would prove to be a farce as the BJP, supporting the Rabha cause, did not field its candidates while most of AGP candidates had withdrawn their nominations.

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