Mukroh firing: AITC spokesperson Saket Gokhale writes to Meghalaya CM
(File Image) A firing incident was reported from Mukroh village in Meghalaya’s West Jaintia Hills

Shillong: KAM Meghalaya, a political platform of citizens, and people’s group Thma U Rangli-Juki (TUR) have strongly condemned the firing incident and the actions of Assam police on the Khasi-Pnar and other residents of Mukroh village in Meghalaya’s West Jaintia Hills, which led to the loss of six lives on Tuesday.

As per the latest reports, as many as six persons, including 5 residents of Mukroh and 1 forest guard from Assam, died in the firing incident that took place around 3 am on Tuesday at Mukroh village near the Assam-Meghalaya border. The bodies have now been taken to Jowai Civil Hospital for further medical examination.

According to sources, some of the residents of the village were first arrested for exercising their traditional customary rights over the forest produce, and when the villagers demanded their release to the Assam authorities they were reportedly fired upon.

Condemning the incident, KAM Meghalaya and TUR stated that the land and forest belong to the people of Meghalaya and not to Assam. It alleged that Assam police for a very long time have been harassing the border residents. Even if these borders are legal entities, the lives and traditions of the tribal communities cannot be erased, it said.

Moreover, even in constitutional terms, the Forest Rights Act provides legal protection to the communities that have not only grown in these forests but have also looked after them for an aeon, the statement added.

Both KAM Meghalaya and TUR have demanded immediate action against the perpetrators of the atrocity as well as compensation and medical support for the victims.

It also demanded that the people’s rights to the forest produce and customary rights of the people over the land be legally enshrined. Besides, it also demanded that the Assam-Meghalaya border dispute be immediately resolved, keeping in mind the customary land rights and history of the border areas.

It also demanded that all solutions have to be sustainable and lasting.

Also read | Assam-Meghalaya border clash: 4 dead in firing in West Jaintia Hills

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