Karbi Anglong, one of the most volatile regions in Assam, has witnessed the most peaceful elections to an autonomous body in more than six decades, Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal said Sunday. The recently concluded election to the Karbi Anglong Autonomous Council (KAAC), comprising the two districts of Karbi Anglong and West Karbi Anglong, has been termed as the most peaceful polls held since 1952 when the council was created under the Sixth Schedule of the Constitution.
The election was held without any untoward incident during the whole process and it was the most peaceful election to an autonomous body in more than six decades, Sonowal said in a statement. The chief minister said even the Assam State Election Commission has on record acknowledged this fact.
This has been a great achievement for the state police who worked tirelessly in close coordination with the district administration and other sister agencies and relentless support of public said. The Karbi Anglong Autonomous Council (KAAC), which was known as Mikir Hills District Council, came into existence on June 23, 1952.
The Council which is empowered to legislate on various inherent and entrusted subjects is the most important administrative entity for all except few subjects like law and order, relief and rehabilitation etc.
Hence, the elections to the Autonomous Council always assumed paramount significance characterised by enormous campaigning activity and extreme volatility. Ever since its formation, the KAAC went to polls 11 times and the election process for the 12th Council just concluded.
These elections have always been a challenge for the civil and police administration as the area is sparsely populated with population density just over 93 per sq.km, hilly and rolling terrain draped from Singhason hills.
With forests occupying 47 percent of the geographical area, it has been one of the active fields for terrorist activities.
Since the region shares a border with Nagaland and Meghalaya, the terrorist organisations having an understanding with various extremist groups operating in these neighbouring states, make the general law and order of the region more vulnerable and made the KAAC elections a challenging task.
A conglomerate of 24 organisations which was later joined by two more organisations became active just few months before the scheduled period of elections with demands like a complete change of electoral process and de-enfranchisement of certain sections of people.
The sensitive issue was hired by these organisations to stall the election process. Extreme methods of protests were adopted by these groups to popularise their demand and to get public rallied behind them with motive of scuttling the election process.
The chief minister said the police administration tackled the protests meticulously by careful planning, domination and visibility of security forces, posing continuous psychological deterrence to these organisations with utmost perseverance, resulting in gradual dissipation of the issue and brought a conducive atmosphere to conduct elections.