Shillong: People living in villages along the disputed interstate border in West Jaintia Hills district were subjected to extortion by Assam government officials and militants, an MLA claimed in the Meghalaya assembly on Tuesday.

They were also deprived of their rights to drinking water, healthcare, education, road connectivity and electricity, Nujorki Sungoh who was elected from Mookaiaw constituency in West Jaintia Hills said.

Chief Minister Conrad K Sangma said that the disputed area the United Democratic Party (UDP) MLA was talking about would be taken up in the second phase of border talks with Assam.

Six areas of differences will be taken up in the first phase.

They (people living in disputed Block I areas) have been subjected to undue harassment by government officials of Assam and militants alike, Sungoh said, moving a call attention motion.

They have been extorted and deprived of their rights and properties, he claimed.

“They have been arrested for no crime. They have been forced to pay taxes on land, house and domestic animals they rear,” the UDP MLA said and urged the chief minister to look into the matter.

In his reply, Sangma said that interstate boundary dispute in Block-I areas of West Jaintia Hills district would be taken up in the second phase of border talks with Assam.

The chief minister urged people to maintain peace and tranquillity in the border areas as talks are on to resolve the border dispute.

Sangma also informed the House that Meghalaya Police have intensified patrolling in the areas of dispute to instil confidence in the minds of the villagers living along the border with Assam.

He said magistrates and police are promptly taking action on all incidents having a bearing on law and order in the areas.

The CM said issues on developmental works in border areas are discussed at the deputy commissioner and SP levels of the two states.

It was agreed by both the state governments that central government schemes should be allowed to be implemented for the benefit of the people of the inter-state border areas,” he said.

Arms, ammunition of ex-NDFB militants recovered in Assam

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