Cong youth leader's house attacked

Dhubri, Jan. 22: The house of the president of Dudhnoi unit of Youth Congress, Rajib Dutta, was ransacked and his two cars and a two-wheeler were damaged by a group while the house of a Congress panchayat candidate was torched by another group of unidentified youths opposing panchayat election in the Rabha Hasong Autonomous Council Area last night.

Jeuti Das is contesting from 73 no. Boko West, Bokoli gaon panchayat, for the post of president of the panchayat.

The situation in Rabha Hasong Autonomous Council area is getting volatile with each passing day following the opposition of panchayat election by Rabha Hasong Joint Movement Committee, a conglomeration of 34 Rabha Hasong organisations led by the All Rabha Students' Union (Arsu) since the announcement of rural polls last month.

The government's efforts to pacify the Rabha Hasong groups by announcing council election on April 30 and discussion with Rabha Hasong groups to allow the panchayat election to be held peacefully failed to reach any solution.

The government also held discussions with the leaders of Ajanjatiya Suraskha Mancha yesterday which has been opposing council election in 375 villages but welcomed panchayat elections to be held as scheduled on February 12.

While expressing deep resentment over the government's stand, adviser to the Mancha, Chandan Kesab, yesterday said they were in favour of holding the panchayat elections as announced by the government but will allow elections to the council only after excluding the villages dominated by the non-Rabhas.

"We are also not opposing council election in the Rabha Hasong Autonomous Council but only after excluding the villages where non-Rabhas are in majority," Kesab said.

The Rabha Hasong Joint Movement Committee, highly dissatisfied with government's decision, has called a 72-hour strike in the Rabha Hasong Autonomous council area from January 24 to 27.

Arsu president Tonkeswar Rabha while reiterating their stand of opposing panchayat elections, said they would continue to oppose till the government cancels the election.

"Yesterday's meeting chaired by Bhumidhar Barman failed to fulfil our demand but we have no other way out but to oppose it. The government has not shown any interest in solving the problems of the Rabha Hasong community. Moreover, it does not want to empower the council as well," Rabha said.

Arsu sources said the state government had constituted the Rabha Hasong Autonomous Council in 1995 with 779 villages and formed an ad hoc body in order to protect the political rights and uplift the socio-economic condition of the Rabha and Hasong people living in Goalpara and parts of Kamrup district.

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