Meghalaya: No change in border agreement says CM Conrad Sangma
The CM met with leaders of various organisations on Tuesday

Shillong: Meghalaya Chief Minister Conrad K Sangma on Tuesday ruled out any plans of changing the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed between Assam and Meghalaya to resolve the first phase of the border dispute. 

Sangma’s response comes at a time when organisations are demanding that the government should either revisit or scrap the MoU. The Khasi Students’ Union (KSU), Federation of Khasi Jaintia and Garo People (FKJGP), Association for Democracy and Empowerment (ADE), Federation for Achik Freedom (FAF) and several other stakeholders met with the CM on Tuesday to discuss the matter.

Speaking to the media, Sangma said that after hearing the concerns of the organisations, the government has shown them the historical facts and how, based on the 2011 report, the entire discussion happened. 

Meghalaya CM Conrad K Sangma

Sangma added that he explained to them (leaders of the organisations) that it was difficult to change the report that was submitted by the Meghalaya government in 2011.

“It was a huge challenge, but we had to move forward with the 2011 report. They have understood the issue now, but concerns still persist, like people’s will and desire to remain in Meghalaya, and they would like to see if some steps can be taken to work on those matters,” stated Sangma.

The three villages brought up by the organisations are Joypur, Salbari and Huwapara

Sangma said since the talks for the second phase have just started, it remains to be seen how to move forward on this issue.

FKJGP Garo Hills Zone President Pritam Arengh said they will continue with their demand that these villages remain with Meghalaya.

He added that it wouldn’t be a challenge since Assam never disputed these areas and that this was a mistake that can be rectified.

Dundee Khongsit, President of the FKJGP, said the state government should take this opportunity to include the three villages in Meghalaya since the second phase of talks is ongoing. Khongsit added that the Meghalaya government could approach the Assam government to discuss the many areas of difference.  

Lambok Marngar, President, KSU said the student body has always suggested that the government should take historical facts and ethnicity into consideration and listen to the autonomous bodies and concerned stakeholders’ suggestions.

He said that though it is hard to revisit the MoU, “We all know that Assam and Meghalaya are in India. So I believe there is a way to work this out and we leave it to the government to solve this.”

He also emphasised the struggles faced by the people living in these areas should not be forgotten or overlooked. They have been taking care and protecting their land for 50 years, he added. 

The organisations also urged the government to seek approval from the concerned stakeholders of these villages before any final decisions are made in the second phase of the talks.

Also read | Meghalaya: MLA Kimfa expresses concern over villages ceded to Assam

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