Four people were killed and seven injured when the police opened fire in Assam on Wednesday to disperse a mob of violent protesters who stormed a police station and attacked an officer, the police said.
The authorities have imposed curfew in Lakhipur town, the scene of the incident in the western Goalpara district, and have called out the army to stage flag march, the police said.
A group of people who had taken out a procession in Lakhipur to press the state government to hold the rural polls in the area turned violent and attacked the police station, injuring the officer-in-charge.
"The police had to open fire at two places in the area that killed four protesters and injured seven others," GP Singh, Assam Police deputy inspector general, told IANS.
The area dominated by the Rabha ethnic group has an autonomous politico-administrative structure. The tribal leaders who run it have opposed Panchayat elections for fear the powers of the autonomous council would be curtailed.
The non-tribals who cohabit the area, however, favour Panchayat polls being held and had taken out the procession on Wednesday to put pressure on the Congress-led coalition in Assam to hold the polls.
The non-tribals had also called a 48-hour general strike in the area, starting Wednesday morning.
The staggered Panchayat elections have begun Dec 31 and end Jan 9.