Mukroh incident linked to timber smuggling not border dispute: Special DGP
Special DGP (law and order) G.P Singh, along with KAAC chief executive member Tuliram Ronghang and other officials, during the visit to Mukroh on Tuesday

GUWAHATI: A week after the Mukroh firing that resulted in the loss of six lives, there is an uneasy calm in the village and areas bordering West Karbi Anglong district in Assam and West Jaintia Hills district in Meghalaya.

Even as police officials have been monitoring the situation from the day of the unfortunate incident and camping there, Special DGP (law and order), Assam Police, Gyanendra Pratap Singh along with a police delegation, visited the village on Tuesday to assess the law and order situation there.

The Karbi Anglong Autonomous Council (KAAC) chief executive member Tuliram Ronghang accompanied the police delegation.

Briefing media persons during the visit, the Special DGP said that the Mukroh incident was in fact an outcome of timber smuggling and not linked to Assam-Meghalaya inter-state boundary dispute.

“This is a timber smuggling case and has got nothing to do with the inter-state boundary dispute. As it is, we have told the forest department and local police to conduct a proper inquiry into the incidents of smuggling of forest produce such as timber in the area,” Singh said.

The police officer said strict action would be taken against those found to be involved in the smuggling of forest resources.

“If there is any involvement of any person from Meghalaya, then the Meghalaya police will have to be intimated for them to take action according to law. As it is, the Supreme Court and National Green Tribunal have laid elaborate guidelines in forest matters,” he said.

On the uneasy calm that prevails in the Mukroh incident that resulted in the loss of six lives, Singh said, “The IG (law and order), DIG central range (Diphu), and the commissioner had camped in the village for about five-six days…There is a difference between the situation then (November 22) and now. We are trying to build public trust and so it will take time for the situation to return to normal as we are trying to build public trust.”

He further said that as per the instructions of the chief minister to transfer the inquiry to the CBI, “we have written to the central investigation agency and the matter is currently with the central government.”

“The order of transferring the probe would be available in a day or two,” Singh informed.

On the other hand, Karbi Anglong Autonomous Council (KAAC) chief executive member, Tuliram Ronghang KAAC chief executive member, who accompanied the special DGP and other officials to the site, said, “What happened on November 22 was unfortunate. We demand a CBI probe into the incident.”

Ronghang, while clarifying that the incident was triggered by timber smuggling, said it was not linked to the border problem.

“As it is, we have acted tough on timber smugglers and under the Kheroni forest range, as many as 23 smuggled timber-laden trucks have been caught in the area,” the KAAC CEM said.

He said that the regional committee, constituted by the Assam government, would discuss with the KAAC decisions regarding the border (in the areas of differences in Block I and Block II).

“A meeting between the two state governments would be held soon to resolve the border problem through discussions. A police station will be set up along the border along with Assam Battalion and CRPF camp,” Ronghang said.

He further said that a meeting was held with the special DGP, DIG (central range) and SP (Hamren) wherein issues related to the border areas were discussed to ensure that law and order was maintained at all cost.

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