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Conrad Sangma meets Amit Shah, CBI to probe into Assam-Meghalaya border firing deaths

Sangma-led Megalaya delegation meets Shah, gets assurance

Assam Meghalaya border firing, Assam Meghalaya border issue, Conrad Sangma, Assam Meghalaya peace talks, Assam Meghalaya unrest, indian expressSecurity personnel at a vandalised forest office in West Karbi Anglong district on Wednesday, day after the killings near the Assam-Meghalaya border. PTI

THE SKIRMISH on the Assam-Meghalaya border that led to the death of six people on Tuesday will be investigated by the CBI, Ministry of Home Affairs said on Thursday. The statement came after a delegation of Meghalaya Cabinet led by Chief Minister Conrad Sangma met Union Home Minister Amit Shah and demanded an inquiry by a central agency.

“Meghalaya CM @SangmaConrad met Union Home & Co-op Minister @AmitShah today and requested CBI inquiry into unfortunate incident on Assam-Meghalaya border. Govt of Assam has also requested CBI inquiry into the matter. HM @AmitShah has assured that GOI will conduct CBI inquiry,” the MHA said in a tweet.

Home Minister Amit Shah with Meghalaya CM Conrad Sangma in New Delhi. (ANI)

“We briefed Amit Shah ji regarding the unfortunate incident that took place in Mukhro village …We explained and gave details of the different circumstances that led to the incident…We have also seen that statements have come from the honourable CM of Assam that the entire incident and the shooting that took place was unprovoked and there was excess use of power by the police,” Sangma said after meeting Shah.

Tloda Sumer, 49, whose husband Sik Talang, 53, was killed in the Mukroh firing, says she has three daughters and two sons, all of whom work in other people’s farmlands. (Express Photo)

“Keeping that in mind we have requested the Government of India to constitute a central agency inquiry either through the CBI or NIA or any other agency so that the truth can come out. And more importantly, action is taken against those who are responsible for this inhuman act. The honourable Home Minister has given us the assurance that he will constitute an inquiry under a central agency,” he said.

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Six people, including an Assam Forest Guard, were killed and several injured in firing by Assam Police during a clash with a mob early Tuesday over an alleged timber-smuggling attempt near a village in Meghalaya. The firing occurred around 3 am in an area bordering West Karbi Anglong district of Assam and Mukroh village in Meghalaya’s West Jaintia Hills.

Sangma used the meeting to also raise the issue of pending border dispute between the two states and said talks between the two states have hit a hurdle following the incident.

“We shared with the Home Minister that the root cause of the tension in this and other areas has to do with the long-pending border issue between the two states. Different incidents have led to the situation becoming more tense, which ultimately led to the situation where this unfortunate incident happened. It is very important that all efforts be made so that the border dispute is resolved,” he said. “Now that this incident has happened, the talks that were going forward have hit a certain hurdle and there are a lot of areas where trust has to be built. Hence the intervention of the Government of India will be necessary.”

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Four people, including a forest guard, were killed in violence at the Assam-Meghalaya border after the police intercepted a truck transporting illegal timber in the early hours of Tuesday. (PTI Photo)

In March, the Chief Ministers of Assam and Meghalaya signed a pact in the presence of Shah to resolve part of their five-decade-old boundary dispute. Both state governments identified six out of 12 disputed areas for resolution in the first phase: 3 areas contested between West Khasi Hills district in Meghalaya and Kamrup in Assam, 2 between RiBhoi in Meghalaya and Kamrup-Metro, and 1 between East Jaintia Hills in Meghalaya and Cachar in Assam.

Over the years, the 884-km border between the two states has witnessed frequent flare-ups.

The pact was seen as a big achievement as Assam’s border disputes with other states in the North East have remained unresolved for long and multiple rounds of talks have failed to achieve desired results.

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“We also discussed about the security and safety of the people in the border area, specially in the sensitive zones and the disputed zones. We urged the GoI to initiate a process to ensure that both the state governments come together and such kind of incidents do not take place again,” Sangma said.

Security personnel at a vandalised forest office in West Karbi Anglong district on Wednesday, day after the killings near the Assam-Meghalaya border. PTI

Apart from this, Sangma also raised the issue of supply of essential commodities to Meghalaya.

“We have also raised the issue of problems being faced by the state in supply of essential commodities. We have asked for support from both the Centre and the states in this matter. We have also demanded that Garo and Khasi languages be included in the eighth schedule of the Constitution. We have passed a resolution in the Assembly to implement Inner Line Permit in Meghalaya. We put forth our demand to the home minister. We have also requested the home minister to expedite approval of the MRSS law passed by the Assembly as it is stuck with the governor,” Sangma said.

First published on: 24-11-2022 at 10:43:38 pm
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