The victims were Rabha tribals, for whom the Rabha Hasong Autonomous Council was constituted in 1995. “Disrupting the Rabha Hasong elections could be the motive behind the shooting,” said IGP (Law and Order) SN Singh.
Violence had been on in Goalpara district since October 20, when the Congress government announced the election dates. The Garos — who dominate the western half of Meghalaya and have a sizeable population in Assam — and other non-Rabha communities have been opposing the tribal council polls for fear of losing land and other rights.
Earlier this year, the Assam government was forced to cancel the elections following clashes between the Rabhas and Muslims.
Victims of the GNLA shooting are seen at the local hospital in this video grab. ANI