Border row: Village headmen of West Jaintia Hills urge Meghalaya CM to intervene

Shillong: Headmen of five villages — Barato, Mukroh, Saba, Maitdieng and Jonkynshur — in West Jaintia Hills district have now urged Meghalaya chief minister Conrad K Sangam to intervene in the border issue with Assam.

The San Shnong (5 villages) Development Organisation accompanied by local MLA Nujorki Sungoh met CM Sangma on Thursday urging him to stop encroachment of land in West Jaintia Hills district by the Karbi Anglong Block I of Assam.

According to the organisation, the Assam government constructed a police outpost at Saba (Langhong-Sangdathli) in West Jaintia Hills district. The outpost was inaugurated on June 12 in the presence of the local MLA of Assam.

Earlier on April 27, prior to the inauguration and other civil activities, the San Shnong Development Organisation had reported the matter to the deputy commissioner of West Jaintia Hills.

It urged the DC to stop the work immediately because the site falls on Meghalaya Land but no action was taken, the organisation said.

“The government of Assam didn’t respect the previous agreement to maintain status quo that no further work will be undertaken without prior information from the respective government for the common interest in the border areas of Block I and II,” said Jonkynshur headman N Suchiang.

Local MLA Nujorki Sungoh said that the construction of the outpost has been done illegally. He added that there has been a lot of trouble and the people has been harassed from time to time by people in nearby Karbi Anglong.

“We are thankful to the CM for giving us assurance that the setting of the outpost will immediately be stopped. The CM has given assurance to set up an outpost at Barato village,” said Sungoh.

He added that the outpost has been illegally set up in Meghalaya and that it is just 20 minutes from Saba village, and doesn’t fall under disputed area and is well within Meghalaya.

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The organisation has urged the CM to take up the matter with his counterpart in Assam to remove the outpost constructed at Saba village.

It also asked to have a proper land demarcation between the district of Karbi Anglong in Assam and West Jaintia Hills in Meghalaya.

According to the organisation, several incidents occurred in the area as in the past. “In 2003, five farmers were mercilessly killed in Mukroh village by the KNV (Karbi National Volunteer) for unknown reasons. On the June 21, seven huts were burned down by unknown Karbi people, including two at Saba (Synjrit) and five at Saba (Umrisang),” it said.

“Farmers were obstructed from going to their daily work in paddy fields. Women and children were also harassed while going to paddy fields,” the organisation said, adding: “Farmers were obstructed to collect fire wood and other activities of day-to-day life.”

On April 23 this year, the United Hynniewtrep Movement went to visit the site at Langhong-Sangdathli Saba but were badly beaten by some unidentified persons of Karbi Anglong, the organisation said. “The youths were hospitalised at PHC Barato,” it added.

The organisation also informed the CM that Block I of Karbi Anglong district of Assam has set up a forest outpost at Khlieh Sanaro of Mukroh village. “This outpost has created a lot of inconvenience to farmers of Mukroh and other neighbouring villages,” it added.

Jonkynshur headman N Suchian said that it is the moral duty and responsibility of the government to protect the life and property of its citizens. He added that the government needs to take pre-emptive measures for the near future.

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