Friday, July 15, 2011


After days of uncertainty and fear of a major law and order breakdown in the three districts of Garo Hills following opposition to the proposed civic polls, the Meghalaya Government has halted the entire election process calling for a “reschedule” of the polls while a visibly elated Joint Action Committee of Garo NGOs has withdrawn their weeklong stir that was suppose to begin from Friday morning onwards.
Under pressure from student and social organizations who had announced a week-long shutdown, Meghalaya government today deferred the municipal elections, slated for next month. This is the third time in a year that the government has been forced to defer the municipal elections which were to be the first civic polls since Meghalaya attained statehood. The protesting organizations contend that the election to municipalities will lead to erosion of powers of the traditional bodies like the tribal village chiefs. Urban Affairs Minister Ampareen Lyngdoh on Wednesday held a series of meetings at Tura with elected representatives, political parties, the protesting organizations before reviewing the law and order scenario in the three districts of Garo hills with senior officials of the administration. After the meetings, the government decided to defer the election apprehending law and order problems due to the protests. The Urban Minister was accompanied by her colleague, Home Minister H D R Lyngdoh, and C&RD Minister Saleng A Sangma. Prior to the decision to halt the scheduled elections, the ministerial delegation held a series of meetings with the deputy commissioners and superintendents of police from the three districts of Garo Hills to ascertain the ground situation. It was only after the delegation was briefed on the impending problems in the run up to the polls that the government felt it necessary to ‘reschedule’ the elections to the four municipalities. The organisations included the Garo Students Union, All India Garo Union, Federation of Khasi and Jaintia, Garo People and other like-minded NGOs. The Joint Action Committee, a conglomerate of social and student organizations, had called for a seven-day shutdown in the three districts of Garo hills from July 15. The government had earlier notified the polls to the Baghmara Municipal Board and Williamnagar Municipal Board in Garo hills for August 6 and 15 respectively. The Gauhati High Court had directed the state government to hold the municipal elections in the state before September. The state government had earlier made two attempts to hold the first ever civic polls in the state in the four municipalities of Garo hills but had to abandon its plans after the election authorities were compelled to postpone the polls twice in two months since September last year in the wake of large scale violent protests. Ever since statehood in 1972, Meghalaya has never conducted civic polls and nominated administrator of the State Government governs the Municipality Boards.


Post a Comment