Govt takes steps to ensure law & order in other inter-state borders

CM announces Rs 5 lakh ex gratia to each victim's family

Shillong, Nov 22: Chief Minister Conrad Sangma said on Tuesday measures are being taken to ensure peace and security in other Assam-Meghalaya border areas following the Assam police firing at Mukroh in West Jaintia Hills.

Speaking to the press in the afternoon, Sangma confirmed that there were six casualties, five civilians and a forest guard from Assam, in the firing by the Assam police and forest guards.


The government has announced an ex gratia of Rs 5 lakh to each of the five bereaved families.

Sangma said Assam forest guards, along with the Assam police, detained a truck carrying timber at Mukroh, which does not fall under the disputed areas. When the word spread, locals “gathered in large numbers and surrounded the Assam police and forest guards”.

“This led to firing by Assam police in which five persons from Meghalaya and an Assam forest guard died. The injured persons were shifted to Barato PHC and Ialong Civil Hospital,” he added.

The chief minister held a two-hour meeting with his deputy, the chief secretary, officials and the police in the morning. The police department was asked to be alert on the other inter-state borders.

“We have asked the police to deploy manpower in all the sensitive areas. There will be challenges because there will be different situations. But we are ensuring that all deployment is done,” he added.

Mobile internet was shut down for some time keeping in mind the law and order.

The Meghalaya chief minister briefly spoken with his Assam counterpart, Himanta Biswa Sarma.

Leader of the opposition Mukul Sangma has left for Mukroh and he will address the media there, sources said.

The state government “strongly condemned” the incident saying the Assam police and forest guards entered Meghalaya and “resorted to unprovoked firing”.

“The government will take all steps to ensure that justice is done and action is taken against those responsible for this inhuman act. As a mark of respect and mourning for the deceased, the state government has decided to cancel all official festivals, including Cherry Blossom Festival,” said Sangma and urged all citizens to maintain harmony and law and order.

The Cabinet will meet on Tuesday evening to decide on the next course of action.

On the second round of border talks with Assam, the chief minister said the incident was not directly linked to the talks. “The border talks are really important to us but given the current time, it has affected the overall situation. Things will not be the same as in the past. Therefore, we need confidence building… We expect that both the Government of India and the Government of Assam will take the necessary steps to ensure that justice is done,” he added.

On the police manpower along the border where the firing took place, Sangma informed that the number was less than those of the Assam counterparts because the “situation was unexpected”. The sanctioned posts at Barato police post are to be filled on November 25.

Of the five deceased, three villagers died on the spot and the other two succumbed to their injuries at Barato and in Jowai.

KAM, TUR, CSWO demand people’s claim on forest produce 

In a statement, KAM Meghalaya and TUR strongly condemned the actions of the Assam police on the Khasi-Pnar and other residents of the border areas of Jaintia Hills.

“People were first arrested for exercising their customary claims on the forest produce and then when the villagers went to the Assam authorities to demand their release, they were fired upon. The residents of these areas were exercising their traditional customary rights over the forest produce that predate the modern notion of the borders. The land and forest belong to the people, not to the state. Assam police for a long time have been harassing the border residents on a border,” said the statement.

KAM Meghalaya and TUR demanded immediate action against the perpetrators, compensation and medical aid to the victims, ensuring people’s rights to the forest produce and customary rights on land, and immediate resolution of the Assam-Meghalaya border issue. “All solutions have to be sustainable and lasting,” they said.

The CSWO president, Agnes Kharshiing condemned the incident and demanded an independent inquiry into the matter.

The organisation conveyed condolences to the bereaved families and urged both the governments to come out with facts and settle the boundaries of both the states. “For far too long political games are being played in such areas leading to killings and violence”, she said.

Also read: Six killed in firing incident on Meghalaya-Assam border

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