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It is ballots versus bullets in Assam these elections

Arijit Sen | http://senarijit

First published: April 16, 2009, 6:24 PM IST | Updated: April 16, 2009
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It is ballots versus bullets in Assam these elections
With militants running free, this is India's most dangerous constituency.

North Cachar Hill District: Dimasa militants and Karbi militants have been spreading terror in the hill districts of North Cachar and Karbi Anglong. Trains are been targetted, people are being abducted and killed and even an election officer was attacked. The Diphu constituency in this area went to polls on April 16.

Fighting the elections under the BJP banner was Kulendra Daologupu, a candidate from the Dimasa tribe. He is also a Pune Film Institute graduate.

Daologupu says, "In insurgency-infested areas, peace is paramount because without peace there is no development."

Yet just before elections the Army, Paramilitary and police - 50 companies of forces - seem to be at a loss controlling violence.

The Dayang river separates the hill districts of Assam, Karbi Anglong and North Cachar, each an unfortunate reflection of the other and both trapped in underdevelopment and terror.

Development funds being misused is not new to the people of the hill districts. Two people were recently caught in Guwahati trying to pay Rs 1 crore to an arms dealer, a payment against a recently received arms consignment of 60 AK rifles meant for the militant outfit DHD(J).

Resident North Cachar Hills, Raibendra Naidin says, "There is no peace. Farmers, people who stay here cannot go to Karbi Anglong. They cannot come here. We don't get benefits of any schemes. We live in fear of dying."

The Karbi Longri National Liberation front had given a 48-hour bandh call on April 15 and the Dimasa militants have threatened to blow up bridges - threats that might have an impact on the voter turnout.

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