Union to keep tab on future public hearings
SHILLONG: Disregarding an assurance from East Khasi Hills Deputy Commissioner Sanjay Goyal that there was no public hearing on voters’ enrolment for residents of Lyngkhat villagers scheduled on Thursday, leaders of the KSU and other pressure groups inspected the DC’s office to confirm the same.
The district administration had put in place a very tight security in and around the office anticipating trouble from the pressure groups.
“We have come to the DC’s office to verify if the public hearing had really been cancelled,” KSU organizing secretary Sharai Warjri told newsmen.
He urged the election authorities not to conduct any hearing at the DC’s office in future and insisted that all hearings should be carried out only at the village level.
“We will be forced to come back if the election authorities try to conduct public hearing inside the DC’s office,” Warjri said, while demanding a permanent end to voters’ enrolment at the deputy commissioner’s.
Meanwhile, the members of the pressure groups met Addl. Deputy Commissioner P. Lawai who informed them that the hearing had been stopped.
DC orders probe to check antecedents
of ‘doubtful’ Lyngkhat voters
East Khasi Hills Deputy Commissioner Sanjay Goyal on Thursday informed that he had constituted a magisterial inquiry to verify the antecedents of the families from Lyngkhat village who are alleged to have hailed from Bangladesh.
“I have constituted this inquiry on the basis of media reports about presence of some families in Lyngkhat village who are not from this country. The inquiry will be headed by Additional District Magistrate I. Majaw,” Goyal told newsmen here on Thursday.
“We have to take appropriate action as per the law if it is established they are not from this country. We will not know the details until the inquiry is completed,” Goyal, who is also the District Election Officer, said.
He said that though no specific time frame had been set for the completion of the inquiry, the probe officer has been asked to submit the report at the earliest.
When asked why a hearing for eight people of Lyngkhat village had been proposed in Shillong, Goyal said that the villagers had filed a complaint against the previous hearing where their applications had been rejected.
“The Electoral Registration Officer Ms. E.B. Suja might have decided to hold the hearing in Shillong to give them the opportunity to be heard properly,” Goyal said, while questioning: “Why we are so afraid of the hearing?”
He stated that there was a provision that the ERO can refer the matter to the police for verification and conduct a spot inspection even after the hearing.
He went on to say that no officer would exercise a casual approach in dealing with such a sensitive matter. “If somebody goes to court for wrongful inclusion then the concerned officer would be held responsible,” Goyal added.
While referring to doubts being raised by various sections of the society and the pressure groups on the enrolment of voters, Goyal said he had directed all the EROs to conduct the hearing at the designated locations during the normal summary revision being held in the respective polling stations.
He mentioned that the responsibility of conduct the hearing for the eight residents of Lyngkhat village has been given to the Assistant Electoral Registering Officer.
Goyal also dismissed rumours about rampant enrolment of voters at the DC’s office without proper verification.
“I would like to clarify that as per election and population ratio, we have been enrolling around three to four per cent new voters into the electoral roll every year. However, in the past three months, only 0.2 per cent has been enrolled,” he said.
He further mentioned that he was open to any kind of scrutiny and added that he would be willing to provide documents for verification to quell any doubts about wrong enrolment of voters.
“The registering officer is working under the law. So there is no reason for anybody to doubt him. We share the electoral rolls with political parties and with anybody who wants to purchase it,” he concluded.