Better Assam-Meghalaya coordination could have averted Mukroh violence: Sangma

SHILLONG, 20 Dec: Meghalaya Chief Minister Conrad K Sangma on Tuesday said that the violence in Mukroh village near Assam border, that left six people dead, could have been averted had all agencies of the two state governments kept “proper coordination and communication.”

The chief minister said that he and his Assam counterpart are in touch with each other to prevent recurrence of such incidents.

Violence had broken out at the Assam-Meghalaya border in the early hours of 22 November after a truck allegedly laden with illegally felled timber was intercepted by forest guards from Assam.

Six people, including a forest guard, were gunned down amid the clashes.

“Whatever factors and situations that led to this (Mukroh) violence, if proper coordination and communication was maintained by all agencies of both the governments, I am sure it (border violence) could have been averted,” Sangma told PTI on the sidelines of a programme here.

“Henceforth, proper coordination and communications should be maintained at all levels to prevent such incidents from taking place,” he said.

Mukroh village is located in Meghalaya’s West Jaintia Hills, bordering Karbi Anglong district of Assam.

“I am keeping in constant touch with the Assam chief minister. We have spoken to each other and we will continue to do so in the following weeks to ensure that coordination is maintained at all levels,” Sangma said.

On the allegation that the Assam forest department has resumed repairing the beat office, the chief minister said he will seek a report on this.

A beat office of the Assam forest department was destroyed by a mob on 22 November, following the death of six people.

The chief minister also said that at least 30 personnel of the Meghalaya Police have been posted at the border outpost in Mukroh.

The Meghalaya government has formed a special investigation team to probe the incident of violence at Mukroh.

At least two major incidents of violence were reported along the disputed Assam-Meghalaya border in the last 12 years. The first one was at Langpih in West Khasi Hills district, where four civilians were shot dead by Assam Police in 2010.

Meanwhile, the two states have also initiated the second phase of border talks for resolving the remaining six areas of difference, which include Langpih in West Khasi Hills district, Borduar, Nongwah-Mawtamur, Deshdoomreah, Block-II in Ri Bhoi district, and Block-I, Psiar-Khanduli in West Jaintia Hills district.

On 29 March, the chief ministers of Meghalaya and Assam had signed an MoU in the presence of union Home Minister Amit Shah for resolving six areas of difference.

The areas of difference which were resolved after the MoU was inked include Tarabari (4.69 sq kms), Gizang (13.53 sq kms), Hahim (3.51 sq kms), Boklapara (1.57 sq km), Khanapara-Pilangkata (2.29 sq kms) and Ratacherra (11.20 sq kms). (PTI)