Polls open in India's northeastern state of Assam

Voters in India's insurgency-racked Assam state went to the polls Monday amid heavy security to choose representatives for their state legislature.

"Polling has started with police and the paramilitary soldiers standing guard to ensure smooth conduct of the election process," Assam Police chief Deepak Dutt said.

Monday's voting takes place in areas dominated by several rebel groups who are seeking independence from India, some of which have agreed to lay down their arms and take part in the elections.

"We have resolved our demand and now we are engaged in an electoral exercise under the provisions of the Indian Constitution," said Hagrama Mahilary, former chief of the Bodo Liberation Tigers, which signed a truce with the government in 2003.

Mahilary has since formed a political party, the Bodo People's Progressive Front, which is running.

More than eight million people were eligible to vote at nearly 9,000 polling centers to choose 65 lawmakers from 486 candidates in the final phase of the staggered polls in the northeastern state.

Around 68 percent of 9.2 million people eligible to cast ballots voted in the first phase of voting held on April 3, which were surprisingly peaceful, police said.

The results of the polls for the 126-member legislature are due May 11, reports the AP.

I.L.