NPP, Cong workers clash at Rajabala, 11 injured

TURA, Oct 27: Chaotic scenes erupted at Rajabala’s Garodubi village shortly after the conclusion of the election campaign for the by-election when angry supporters of the Congress allegedly attacked the home of an NPP party worker destroying his boundary wall and ransacking the house spreading panic and fear among the family members that included women and children.
Eleven people from both groups sustained injuries and were given first aid in hospital.
How the incident occurred remains unclear, but both Congress and the NPP have blamed each other for the fiasco.
The Congress claims its supporters returning from an election rally were pelted with stones leading to injury among several people and damage to vehicles.
However, videos and eyewitness accounts reveal a completely different picture.
The Congress supporters were returning from an election campaign and conducting a rally through the village of Garodubi when they came across the posters of NPP candidate Abdus Saleh outside the boundary walls and the gate of Hasan Ali’s house.
Angered on seeing Saleh’s posters, some supporters allegedly began tearing the posters which were objected to by the residents of the house. This led to a confrontation which soon turned into a pitched battle and stone pelting occurred.
“My wife and children were in the house when the incident happened. They are innocent and have nothing to do with politics. Seeing such a large crowd of attackers with stones they got scared and had to run to our neighbour’s house because of the stone pelting. The mob broke down my gate and boundary wall and even ransacked my house, destroying my household furniture, took my gold ornaments and damaged my JCB earth mover vehicle,” complained Hasan Ali.
West Garo Hills Superintendent of Police VS Rathore rushed to the site following the incident along with additional troops and magistrates.
“From preliminary reports it seems some people coming from a rally started tearing the posters of the NPP candidate which caused the flare up. We have started an investigation and already a few persons have been detained and even arrested,” Rathore told The Shillong Times from the site of the incident on Wednesday.
Woman attacked: An FIR has been lodged with Phulbari PS by a 28-year-old woman who was allegedly assaulted  by a group of persons in Gomaijhora village under Rajabala constituency.
According to the victim, one Mokbul Sk along with a group of men broke into her house late Tuesday night and assaulted her.
In her complaint she narrated that the attackers tied her hands and feet and even gagged her mouth. They assaulted her and took away her savings worth Rs 25,000.
Sexual assault has not been ruled out as she recalled that she had become unconsciousness after a blow to her head and only awoke after the criminals left.
UDP candidate Ashahel D Shira has said that the victim is his supporter and blamed the criminals to be members of an opposing political group.
CM expresses shock: Chief Minister Conrad K Sangma has expressed shock over the attack and appealed for calm in the run up to the polls scheduled for October 30.
“A lot of false claims and allegations are being leveled against the NPP that they attacked Congress supporters. The truth is out there — it is the home of our party worker which has been vandalized by our opponents. Children and women were not even spared in that attack. This is disgraceful. Never has such an incident occurred in election campaigns,” said the chief minister when asked for his response to reports NPP instigated the clash.
However, former NPP leader who is now in the Congress camp, Dr Mizanur Rahman Kazi claims stone pelting occurred from the NPP worker’s house leading to the clash.
“It was an unprovoked attack on the part of the NPP that targeted our supporters,” Kazi claimed.
However, NPP leader and former GHADC MDC Sofiur Rahman accused the Congress of using its media cell to spread a false narrative and blame the NPP for an incident in which they were the actual victims.
“The whole episode began after the last rally of the Congress at Rajabala and campaigning had come to a close. Despite the 4 pm deadline the supporters took out a rally from Rajabala via Garodubi towards Magurmari. They targeted Hasan Ali’s house because he is our worker. They did not spare a thought for women and children inside the house and started pelting stones. It was only because the male members retaliated that the women and children could escape to safety. Media persons working for the Congress are trying to remove the true picture” Rahman said.
District Election Officer Ram Singh has initiated an enquiry into the incident and magistrates along with paramilitary forces have been deployed in the area.
Chief Electoral Officer, FR Kharkongor said that additional forces have been deployed in the constituency.
“The SDPO and the Phulbari OC have reached the spot and the situation is under control. Some arrests have also been made and FIR filed,” he said.

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