Call for 'public curfew'

Dhubri, Feb. 8: The Rabha Hasong Joint Movement Forum has called for a 36-hour "janata (public) curfew" from February 11 in the Rabha Hasong Autonomous Council areas where panchayat polls are slated for February 12.

The curfew will begin from 7am on February 11 and continue till 7pm the next day.

In a meeting held on the office premises of the Sixth Schedule Demand Committee at Dudhnoi today, the forum reiterated its opposition to the rural polls and resolved to continue the protests in a peaceful and democratic manner.

Reacting to chief minister Tarun Gogoi's poll speech at Lakhipur in Goalpara, All Rabha Student's Union vice-president Jiban Rabha said calling the council accord "wrong" showed lack of knowledge. "By terming the accord a wrong execution of settlement of the Rabha Hasong community, Gogoi not only dishonoured the then chief minister, Hiteswar Saikia, but also played with the community's sentiments."

Rabha said imposition of panchayat elections on the council areas had already boomeranged, as opposition by the people living there would continue without respite till polling was over.

Ridiculing the requisition of 200 companies of security forces to conduct the rural polls "peacefully" in council area, Rabha said the entire area had been transformed into a war zone. He said all this pointed to the strength of the opposition to the polls.

The forum called upon the all sections of people living in the council areas to refrain from voting and to extend co-operation to their cause. A source said essential services would be exempt from the purview of curfew.

Adding fuel to the fire is a new armed organisation ' Rabha Jatiya Mukti Bahini ' which is opposing the panchayat elections and creating an added concern for those trying to ensure free and fair polls in the council areas.

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