Monday, September 18, 2000,
Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

7 die in civic poll violence
Curfew in Dariapur, polling suspended

AHMEDABAD, Sept 17 (UNI) — Curfew was clamped in Dariapur area of the walled city after seven persons were killed and 43 others, including nine policemen, injured in group clashes and police firing today during polling to five municipal corporations and three municipalities.

The state government has ordered a judicial inquiry into the incident.

Trouble erupted around 12.30 at polling booth No. 17 and 18, when two groups clashed over bogus voting, Minister of State for Home Haren Pandya told reporters here.

The clashing groups resorted to heavy stone-pelting, following which there was a stabbing incident.

The police tried to quell the violence by bursting teargas shells, but opened fire when the mob started damaging vehicles and shops, he said.

In all, 190 teargas shells and 90 rounds were fired by the police.

Police Commissioner P.C. Pande said unconfirmed reports indicate at least two deaths due to stabbing.

The state Election Commission has postponed the elections at all the wards in Dariapur and one ward in Wadaj. The election at ward No. 19 of Surat Municipal Corporation was also postponed in view of threats of booth capturing.

Barring the incident of Dariapur and a stabbing at Rampura in Surat, by and large, polling to five municipal corporations and three municipalities was peaceful. However, a report from Vadodara said tense situation prevailed in some areas.

Mr Pandya said 12 shops were looted by miscreants at Dariapur and three buses and 10 government vehicles were damaged by the rioting mob. He announced a compensation of Rs 2 lakh to next of kin of the six deceased.

Union Home Minister L.K. Advani, who represents the Gandhinagar seat in Lok Sabha, held a talk with Chief Minister Keshubhai Patel about the incident.

Mr Pandya said four additional Rapid Action Force companies had been called in for Dariapur.

An estimated 45 to 50 per cent voters exercised their franchise till 4 p.m., the state Election Commission said.


SDM played foul: councillors
Rajasansi civic body poll
From Our Correspondent

AMRITSAR, Sept 17 — Eight councillors of the Rajasansi Nagar Panchayat belonging to the Congress have accused the SDM, Ajnala, of using derogatory language against Dalit members and for siding with ruling party councillors in the elections of President and Vice-President of the Nagar Panchayat held yesterday.

The councillors have charged Mr Harcharan Singh Sandhu, SDM, for having called Scheduled Castes as “dogs” who should have no right to vote.

Talking to mediapersons today, Mr Sukhbinder Singh Sarkaria, President, District Congress (Rural), along with eight Congress councillors alleged that the SDM had befooled them and despite their strength of eight members in a House of 13 members, he had got elected the Akali councillor as the President of the Nagar Panchayat.

They demanded suspension of the SDM for using abusive language against the Dalit members and for “not following the democratic process” in electing the President of the Nagar Panchayat.

Giving details of the election held yesterday, Mr Sarkaria said though his party was in a majority, the SDM had got an Akali elected as President who had the support of only four councillors.

He said the SDM had assured that there would be no bungling in the election and as his party enjoyed the support of eight members, they were sure to elect one of their members as President. Women members, he said, asked the SDM to put their vote in favour of Mr Tejinder Singh of their party but the SDM cast their votes in favour of Mr Sukhjinder Singh of the Akali Dal.

When the result was announced and Mr Sukhjinder Singh declared elected as President, the Congress councillors protested but the SDM refused to entertain their complaint and claimed that one of their votes had been rejected while three members of their party had voted for the Akali candidate.

He said the Akali candidate had polled eight votes, including the vote of the Akali MLA of the area, and the Congress candidate had secured only four votes.

When the claim of the SDM was refuted by all eight Congress councillors, the SDM began to abuse the Dalit Congress members and took out his pistol threatening them to keep quite or else be killed.

Pandemonium prevailed at the meeting and the Congress councillors walked out.

The Deputy Commissioner, Amritsar reached the site in the evening to end the crisis. The Congress demanded that the fabricated election should be rejected. Though the DC did not cancel the election he assured that within a week he would take action.

Mr Sukhbinder Sarkaria claimed that if they did not get justice they would approach the High Court.

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