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Garo hamlet in Guwahati constituency deprived of voting rights over 8 decades!

From Saurav Borah

GUWAHATI: For almost eight decades now, residents of Longturi Pahar, a Garo-inhabited border hamlet about 19km south of Boko, have been deprived of their voting rights, simply because their names do not figure in the voters’ list.

Located atop a hill as the name suggests, Longturi Pahar under Guwahati parliamentary constituency, is recognised as a village since 1940.

The village is close to the Assam-Meghalaya border and not too far from Langpih, which has been a bone of contention for the two states for decades now.

According to sources, there are about 150 residents at Longturi who are currently of eligible age to vote.

“Over the decades, various submissions before the authorities have been made requesting inclusion of their names in the voters’ list. Barring four or five, who incidentally are sons-in-law from another village close by, Gohalkona, where the polling station for Longturi Pahar exists, the others have had to bear the ignominy of not finding their names on the list,” Arbitson Momin, president of Garo National Council, Assam, told The Shillong Times on Monday.

Momin along with some villagers of Longturi Pahar visited the Kamrup deputy commissioner’s office at Amingaon along with a few villagers on Monday morning.

“The village headman and the secretary had submitted a memorandum (dated February 1, 2019) to the Kamrup deputy commissioner through the district electoral officer praying for their inclusion in the voter list under Boko Assembly constituency and Boko revenue circle. The DC had thereafter asked the electoral officer to examine the matter and take necessary steps in consultation with the authorities,” he said.

Momin further said that he had met the electoral officer at Amingaon, Sukanya Bora, on a couple of occasions who said that the matter is being looked into but will take time.

Asked what may have led to the “lapse” for so many decades now, Momin alleged, “No block-level officers have visited the area. I would imagine that circle officers too have been complacent.”

Kamrup DC, Kamal Kumar Baishya told this correspondent that it might be difficult to accommodate their names in the voters list this time, owing to paucity of time. “But we will see that the measures are taken in due course to resolve the matter once and for all,” Baishya added.

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