To ensure free and fair Assembly elections in Meghalaya, the Election Commission has ordered that the Indo-Bangladesh border in Meghalaya be sealed until March 2, which is the day that the results will be declared.
This was informed by state Chief Electoral Officer, Frederick Roy Kharkongor, here today. There will also be restrictions on inter-state and inter-district movement as well.
“All districts having international borders with Bangladesh have been asked to issue orders to seal and movement of people in the border areas would be restricted,” Kharkongor said.
The operation of border haats has also been deferred until the completion of the election process.
Unregulated movement of individuals across the international border could lead to “law and order problems” and “danger to human life and disturbance to public tranquility,” he added.
At least two districts passed orders specific to their jurisdictions today evening – East Khasi Hills and West Jaiñtia Hills.
The former dealt solely with the international border, with movement of individuals “strictly prohibited” within 1km of the Indo-Bangla border in East Khasi Hills from today to March 2.
In West Jaiñtia Hills, the district administration also placed restrictions on inter-state and inter-district movement.
The village of Mukroh, near the border with Assam, was the site of a massacre in November last year when Assam police shot dead five Meghalayans there. Therefore, “any small incident may disrupt the fragile peace” in the border area.
The authorities are concerned that “undesirable elements or arms and ammunition or illegal money or contraband”, etc could be brought into the state to influence the election.
West Jaiñtia Hills also has a 37.74km border with Bangladesh that remains unfenced and this route could be used by “unsavoury elements” to create mischief.
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