Guwahati: As tensions remain high on the Assam-Mizoram border, it seems other states are taking precautionary measures on their borders with Assam, with the Assam-Meghalaya border also now under the scanner. Iongkhuli village located on the Assam-Meghalaya border reported tension over the installation of electric posts by the Meghalaya Energy Corporation Limited (MeECL) in that area.
The Assam government said Meghalaya made an alleged attempt to instal electricity posts on Assam land in the Khanapara area near Guwahati, while the Meghalaya government said Assam Police forcefully removed electric posts laid by MeECL at Iongkhuli village in Meghalaya’s Ri Bhoi District.
Following an escalation of tension, the situation was brought under control by both the states after a mutual understanding, said an Assam official, who was present at the site on Monday.
Over the past two days, unverified reports claimed the Assam side still allegedly has a “heavy police presence” near the inter-state border in that area. The reports suggested that Assam has deployed the Assam Police battalion and riot control police personnel.
However, when EastMojo visited the inter-state border and Iongkhuli village on Wednesday, where the July 26 incident took place, we found there was no such “heavy police presence” in the area. However, we did see 7-8 Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) personnel along the inter-state border.
The duty subordinate officer of CRPF said that they were deployed to oversee if there is any law and order situation alongside the border following the July 26 incident between Assam and Mizoram.
However, 300-400 metres away from the inter-state border, we saw few Assam police personnel, but they said they are on routine police station area duty and declined to comment further.
Speaking to EastMojo, Dispur Revenue Circle Officer Bharat Konwar said, “I have no information about today’s deployment at Iongkhuli. I have not received any information on any tension in that area. There was already a higher-level meeting between the two states on maintaining peace.”
“CRPF may be deployed by the police administration,” he said, added that he “assumes” that CRPF is deployed to make sure locals don’t come out and create an incident.
A senior Assam police official told EastMojo, “There is no such kind of deployment, but we need to look after the area after all. We have kept personnel in the area as a part of routine patrolling. It’s on both sides, even in Meghalaya.”
“There is a small presence of police, about 4-5 personnel. They are there to give a sense of security to local people. The issue has been so far amicably settled, and since there will be high-level meetings, there is no tension,” he added.
Meanwhile, Hynniewtrep Integrated Territorial Organization (HITO), an organisation in Meghalaya in a press statement said that following the escalation of tension between Assam police and officials with the locals on July 26, the organisation “reasserted the ownership of Iongkhuli village in Raid Marwet under Ri-Bhoi district by placing signboard stating Hynniewtrep Territory all along the village periphery.”
“Led by our Ri-Bhoi Vice President Brandon Shangpliang and senior member Samuel Kharnaior, HITO members placed these prominent signs as a warning to infiltrators to stay away,” said the statement.
“HITO is firm in its stand over our ancestral land inherited from our forefathers,” added the statement.
However, when we visited that area, we didn’t see any banners or the presence of HITO members on the inter-state border. We couldn’t verify who removed those banners.
Meghalaya Chief Minister Conrad K. Sangma on Tuesday urged his Assam counterpart Himanta Biswa Sarma to maintain peace along the interstate border following the tension in Iongkhuli village. He said the border-related talks are already on between the two states, and there is no need to escalate tension between the two states.
We reached out to the Ri-Bhoi district police officials, but there was no one available to speak on this.
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