Assam police gives into Meghalaya pressure

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BOP demolished at Khatkhasla ** Fear psychosis grips border people 

HT Correspondent

KHERONI/HAFLONG, June 14: In a strange incident, Border Police personnel were compelled to demolish a Border Outpost (BOP) located at Khatkhasla under Zirikindeng police station in West Karbi Anglong district along Assam-Meghalaya border following pressure from Meghalaya side.

The incident has left the people living in the border areas in a panicky situation as they fear attacks to be carried out by miscreants from Meghalaya due to the absence of the border outpost.

Karbi Students Association (KSA-Semson Teron) demanded restoration of the BOP in the area for protection of the people in Assam side.

The BOP was set up at Khatkhasla near Umkrimi in a makeshift camp on June 11. On June 12, the police personnel arrived there but on the same day people from Meghalaya and the administration asked them to leave the BOP. The Meghalaya officials said that the BOP should not be set up without proper demarcation of the boundary between the two states.

Senior officials of district administration, police and CRPF personnel visited the area to take the stock of the situation. However, they failed to take any decision on setting up of the BOP in the area.

Meanwhile Karbi Students Association (Semson Teron) demands immediate re-establishment of BOP for security of the people of border areas inside Assam. Teron said the BJP-led government has come to power on the slogan of Jati-Mati-Bheti and as such the incident is embarrassing and condemnable.

Teron said if no step is taken in this regard, the students body will take go for an agitation.

On the other hand, villagers of Umkrimi alleged that hundreds of miscreants from Meghalaya entered into their village on Thursday when they were working in their pineapple and broom fields and attacked three villagers and threatened them of dire consequences if they do not vacate the land immediately claiming that the land belongs to Meghalaya.

The villagers informed that large number of people and destroyed the BOP. The villager also informed that none from the administration including police forces had reached the spot to prevent mob from destroying the BOP and protect the people.

“The mob were led by MLA from Meghalaya and others, they were threatening and shouting at us saying that these areas have been sold and surrendered to Meghalaya by Assam chief minister,” said the villagers. The villagers also said that they (peoples of Meghalaya) would come on Friday for measuring the land stretching over 30 kilometers in Umkhrimi under West Karbi Anglong district.

“We felt betrayed by Assam government and disappointment over the inability of the Karbi Anglong Autonomous Council (KAAC) and district administration to protect us and prevent destruction of BOP and other structures in the area which have become more frequent and highest this year,” they said.

The villagers expressed their concern and fear of more disturbance and conflict between the people of Karbi Anglong and Meghalaya in the coming days due to the failure of authorities to secure the area and stop encroachment of land by people from Meghalaya. They also said that if district administration and KAAC do not take immediate action, anything could now happen considering the tense and present atmosphere.

Meanwhile the All Party Hills Leaders Conference (APHLC) in a press conference at its office premise at Diphu urged the people of Karbi Anglong and people residing in the border areas of West Karbi Anglong district and also to the people of Meghalaya to remain restraint and maintain peace following the destruction of BOP in Umkhrimi area.

“The incident took place between Hijung Adong Amang and Jurimdiam near Khabkhasla Pesiar in the bordering area. Conflicts in tribal areas in past mostly occurs in time of cultivation and examination and the same is repeated, it might be the conspiracy of third force (security forces) to create the tense situation. The BOP was constructed on the night of June 11 and when asked the reason, police told the villagers that the post should be completed before morning,” APHLC president John Ingti Kathar said.

“MLA and DC from Meghalaya came with documents claiming that the area is under Meghalaya, now the questions is that why construction of BOP over a night and why the police task force fled from the spot if it was inside West Karbi Anglong. The act of the police indicates that those areas are under Meghalaya or we are encroaching upon their land even if we cannot confirm anything right now as to the actual facts and truths,” Kathar added

Kathar also warned that third forces might infiltrate on both sides and may instigate violence and even firing on innocent villagers of both sides. “We have seen by experiencing and that in order to avoid any conflict, people should act immediately. We urged upon all concerned authorities to act immediately to prevent deterioration of the situation in border areas. We had already spoken to Meghalaya leaders stating that third force is likely to take advantage of the tense and vulnerable situation prevailing in the area.” Kathar said.

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