At least a dozen people, including seven paramilitary troopers, were injured in Assam on Tuesday in clashes after the police opened fire to disperse demonstrators demanding holding of local elections.
A police spokesperson said the incident took place at Krishnai town in western Assam's Goalpara district when thousands of people tried taking out a rally demanding that elections to panchayats (local executives) be held.
"The police tried to prevent the protestors from taking out the rally when the crowd went unruly. The police resorted to firing, in which two civilians were injured and after that clashes broke out in which seven Central Reserve Police Force personnel were wounded," a senior police official said.
The injured were shifted to local hospitals. The State Election Commission had earlier deferred the panchayat elections in parts of Goalpara district, dominated by the Rabha and Hajong ethnic communities.
"The protestors were people belonging to communities other than the Rabha and Hajong communities," the officials said.
The staggered panchayat elections in Assam are due to begin on December 31.
"The two ethnic communities wanted that panchayat elections in that area be postponed as they wanted their demands first be fulfilled for granting Scheduled Tribe status," Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi told IANS.
"Since there were clashes of interests, we decided to defer the elections for the time being. But it is sure that elections in that area would be held and so now nobody should try take the law into their hands."