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Assam-Meghalaya Border Violence: SUV with Assam Plate Set Ablaze; Forest Office Vandalised; Delegation to Meet Amit Shah

By: News Desk

Edited By: Jessica Jani

News18.com

Last Updated: November 23, 2022, 13:53 IST

Shillong, India

After the clash, movement of vehicles between the two states was restricted. (Pic/ANI)

After the clash, movement of vehicles between the two states was restricted. (Pic/ANI)

Authorities in Meghalaya suspended mobile internet and social media connectivity for 48 hours to prevent further escalation of the situation

Tensions were running high in Meghalaya on Tuesday following a clash between police and villagers at the state’s border with Assam which left six people, including three from the Khasi community, dead. An SUV car with an Assam plate was reportedly set on fire in Shillong while a forest office in Assam was burnt down by Meghalaya villagers on Tuesday night.

Unidentified assailants burnt down a car in Meghalaya’s capital on Tuesday night. While the blaze was put out by a fire brigade, the SUV was completely burnt. However, no casualties were reported, as per NDTV. The incident was “believed to have been an aftermath of the firing incident at Mukroh village in West Jaintia Hills", police sources reportedly said.

Villagers from Mukroh, armed with machetes, rods and sticks, gathered in front of a beat office under the Kheroni Forest Range in Assam along the inter-state border on Tuesday night and set the structure on fire.

A clash took place on Tuesday morning in Mukroh village in West Jaintia Hills which killed six people — five civilians from Meghalaya and one Assam Forest Guard — following a dispute over an illegal timer-laden truck.

ALSO READ: 6 Dead in Assam-Meghalaya Border Clash Over Timber Smuggling; Internet Snapped in Some Areas

Following this, internet services in Meghalaya were suspended for 48 hours and vehicles from Assam stopped at the border to prevent further escalation.

While no cases of violence have been reported, the situation at the Assam-Meghalaya Mokreh border is still tense and vehicles from Assam are still being prohibited from entering Meghalaya on Wednesday.

Meanwhile, the Assam government announced on Tuesday that the West Karbi Anglong SP had been transferred and a new SP appointed in the “interest of public service", while a police officer and forest guard have been arrested as per Meghalaya CM Sangma.

Not ‘Border Clash’ Says Assam CM

Speaking to News18, Assam Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said that it is not a border clash between Assam and Meghalaya but a clash between the police in the forest and villagers. He further added that he was in touch with the Meghalaya CM and peace talks between the two states would continue. “They (peace talks) will continue. When this is not a border dispute then why should it hamper the peace talks?"

Delegation of Meghalaya Ministers to Meet Amit Shah

Led by CM Sangma, a delegation of Meghalaya Ministers will meet Home Minister Amit Shah on November 24 to Demand a central agency probe into the incident.

Meanwhile, the Assam government on Tuesday also said that it would hand over the investigation into the violence on its disputed boundary with Meghalaya in West Karbi Anglong district to a central or neutral agency.

“We will officially inform him (Shah) about the firing incident that took place in Mukroh village and demand that an investigation be made by a central agency either NIA or CBI," Sangma said after a cabinet meeting on Tuesday.

ALSO READ: Journey from Blame Game to Cooperation after Assam-Meghalaya Authorities’ Clash Kills 6

An FIR has been registered in the case and a special investigation team (SIT) headed by DIG of Eastern Range would be constituted to probe the incident, he said, adding that “the same will be handed over to a central agency once approved by the Centre".

He added that the delegation would also meet the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) in New Delhi to submit a report on the incident.

The CM along with Deputy Chief Minister Prestone Tynsong, PHE Minister Renikton Lyngdoh Tongkhar and Minister for Revenue and Disaster Management Kyrmen Shylla will on Wednesday visit Mukroh village where the violence occurred.

“During our visit to Mukroh, we will meet the families of those who have lost their lives and hand over the ex gratia cheques to them," Sagma said. He had earlier announced an ex gratia compensation of Rs 5 lakh each to the next of kin of the deceased individuals.

The CM said he had a telephonic conversation with the Assam chief minister and discussed about the incident during which he expressed “deep concern about the incident" and appealed for immediate action against officials involved.

TMC Leaders to Incident

West Bengal CM and All India Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee on Wednesday shared condolences over the incident on Twitter. “I am gravely anguished by the tragic instance of firing at Mukroh, Meghalaya, that claimed lives of 6 people," she said.

“I express my heartfelt condolences to the families who lost their loved ones in this conflict. I earnestly pray that peace and calm prevails for the greater good," she added.

Meanwhile condemning the incident on Tuesday, Trinamool Congress national general secretary Abhishek Banerjee said the incident showed the “ineptitude" of the Meghalaya government.

Expressing shock over the incident, Banerjee tweeted, “I am shocked and deeply saddened by the extremely unfortunate firing incident at Mukroh, Meghalaya which took away lives of five innocent civilians and a forest guard from Assam."

“For how long will CM @SangmaConrad allow @himantabiswa to take Meghalaya for granted? For how long should Meghalayans live in fear and insecurity. For how long will this injustice go on," Banerjee, the nephew of West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, said.

“Today’s incident exposes the ineptitude of the MDA (Meghalaya Democratic Alliance) Govt, failing its own people," he said.

(With PTI inputs)

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first published:November 23, 2022, 11:58 IST
last updated:November 23, 2022, 13:53 IST
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