Sh Nitin Khade, DEO, Kokrajhar

Presentation on
Voters Education and Electoral Participation
Innovation in Security Management
Parliamentary Election 2014
Nitin Khade IAS
District Election Officer,
30 Kokrajhar LAC &
Returning Officer, 5 Kokrajhar HPC
• Kokrajhar District has a long history of extremist, communal and
political violence. Extremist, communal and political violence are
interlinked. Each triggers the others & leads to chain reaction. Kokrajhar
has several communal and political fault lines. (Photo)
• Several extremist groups are active in the district. Some of the major
groups are i) NDFB (S) ii) NSLA iii) KLO iv) BCF v) BTF vi) RVA etc.
• Around 498 people have been killed & several are untraced from 1987
and around 1,23,890 nos. of houses have been burnt or damaged from
• Large scale Ethnic violence between Bodos and Muslims in 1993 &
2008, Adivasis and Bodos in 1996 and 1998.
• Large scale violence took place between Bodos and Muslims in the
recent past. (July and November, 2012).
• Around 79 persons were killed and around 15,123 nos. of
houses were burnt or damaged. Around three and half lakh
people from this district had taken shelter in relief camps
due to violence. Largest displacement of human population
after the partition of India. It had national ramifications.
• There were intensified agitations for separate state for
Bodoland and Kamatapur and counter agitations opposing
these demands, after announcement of Telengana in July,
2013. (Photo)
• There were also large scale agitations for demand of ST
status for Koch-Rajbongshi and Adivasis. (Photo)
In this backdrop, due to fervour of campaigning & electioneering,
there was a strong possibility of occurrence of large scale
All these factors had the potential to vitiate free and fair polls, not
only in Kokrajhar, but in the entire country.
Keeping in view the above mentioned situation, an awareness
program under SVEEP was initiated.
The awareness campaign was aptly christened as
The purpose was to encourage people
1) To shun violence.
2) To exercise their right to vote without any fear.
3) To express their will and be a part of the process of electing the
Government of their choice, in a peaceful way.
1) A catchy audio theme song was composed in Bodo and
Assamese language with the help of local artists and launched
ceremonially. (song & photo)
2) Attractive live drama based on the awareness theme, as
recorded in the CD, was played out on a tableau for a month.
3) Half Marathon race. College and school students, general
people enthusiastically participated. (Photo)
4) Volleyball competition (Photo)
5) To generate awareness, flex boards were put up throughout the
district at visible locations. (Photo). Wide publicity (Photo)
Assam, particularly Kokrajhar is plagued by frequent calls for Bandhs, Road
blockades, Rail rokos etc. In the year 2012, there were around 59 state wide
bandhs and innumerable district specific bandhs.
After creation of Telengana and in the run up to the General Election, Kokrajhar
was plagued by frequent calls for Bandh, Road blockades, Rail rokos etc.
Frequent calls for Bandhs, Road blockades, Rail rokos etc :
1) affect the maintenance of Law & Order, tend to create possibility of violence,
which may lead to chain reaction.
2) could have prevented Government employees engaged in election duty from
attending to their time bound election related works.
3) distract the district police and CPMFs, as they have to engage in Bandobast
duty instead of counter insurgency operation against the extremists. It could
have given an opportunity to the extremist to plan and execute terrorist
strike and trigger communal and political violence. (Kokrajhar map)
could have disrupted movement of CPMF detailed for election duty
in different parts of the country, as Kokrajhar has a very strategic
location connecting rest of the country with entire North Eastern
region. Large scale and timely movement of CPMF from North East
to rest of the country and vice-versa during 9 phases, was part of
broad election related planning for ensuring free and fair polls.
In view of the above, to ensure free and fair election in Kokrajhar
HPC and rest of the country, issued prohibitory order u/s 144
Cr.P.C., prohibiting any individual or any organisation from giving
As a result, thereafter there was not a single call for bandh, Road/
Rail blcokade in the run up to, during and till the election process
was over.
After the voting and before the counting day, on 1st of May, 2014,
unknown gunmen gunned down 7 Muslim persons in Gossaigaon Election
district, which is a part of Kokrajhar revenue district. There was an
imminent possibility of flare up, as during electioneering, there was large
scale polarisation between Bodos and Non-Bodos. Ethnic violence in 1996
had started in similar way. Polling in the last 2 phases of General Election
was yet to take place. The violence in Kokrajhar and Baksa districts became
a national election issue, as around 45 Muslim people were killed. It also
had the propensity to trigger communal violence in the rest of the country
and hamper free & fair elections. The ethnic violence in 2012, had started
in similar way. News
Apprehending flare up, as DM, I immediately…
1) Requisitioned Army, Imposed curfew
throughout the district.
2) Called District Level Peace Committee meeting at very short
notice by inviting members through SMS, Made an appeal
through media briefing and advertisement, mobile miking for
maintaining peace and communal harmony, Called meeting of all
security forces, political parties and contesting candidates.
Thereafter, no more violent incident took
place in the district.
Thus, ensured free, fair and peaceful
election, not only in Kokrajhar Election
District, but also played a part in conducting
free and fair election throughout the

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