A collapse of the law and order prompted the Meghalaya government to adjourn the first ever municipal elections in the state, with anti-poll activists hijacking the election process in three districts of the Garo hills where polls to the four municipalities were slated for Friday.
"There were a number of disturbances since last night. The administration, after assessing the ground situation, considered that there was a strong possibility of disruption of the polling process as well as serious implication of law and order. So the government though it prudent to adjourn the elections," Chief Secretary WMS Pariat said.
"Many people have been arrested in connection with the incidents," the chief secretary said.
Chief Minister Mukul Sangma said the government was awaiting a detailed report.
"The report will be taken up by the cabinet which will decide on the further course," Sangma said.
Miscreants hurled a petrol bomb at the residence of East Garo Hills deputy commissioner Pravin Bakshi last night, but fortunately it did not explode, police sources said.
Mobs were reported at several places across the three districts of East, West and South Garo Hills since late last evening.
Over a dozen polling booths were gheraoed by anti-poll activists and the polling personnel dragged out and threatened last night.
A candidate’s vehicle was set on fire by miscreants at Resubelpara in East Garo Hills, while boulders and felled trees were used to block roads.
Despite deployment of police and paramilitary forces, cases of arson were also reported at some government offices, besides incidents of stone pelting.
In Williamnagar, arsonists set ablaze a Soil Department jeep and the Sales Tax Office last night.
A bridge at Dawagre in Williamnagar was also set ablaze.
The Joint Action Committee, a conglomerate of several organizations, has called for a three-day bandh from Wednesday in the three districts objecting to the municipal elections.
The JAC was apprehensive that the elections 'would be violative of the Sixth Schedule of the Constitution and lead to erosion of powers of the traditional bodies like the Council of Nokma (Village Council)'.