Shah gives nod to CBI probe into Assam-Meghalaya border firing
New Delhi/Shillong, Nov 24 (IANS) Responding to the Meghalaya government's demand, Union Home Minister Amit Shah on Thursday assured a ministerial delegation of the northeastern state headed by Chief Minister Conrad K. Sangma that CBI would probe the November 22 firing by the Assam Police that left five civilians of Meghalaya and an Assam forest guard dead in West Jaintia Hills district.
Incidentally, the Assam government also requested the Centre for an enquiry by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) into the incident.
Soon after the meeting with the Union Home Minister, the Chief Minister said that Shah responded positively to the demand of the cabinet delegation.
Assam government has also constituted an Inquiry Commission headed by Justice Rumi Kumari Phukan (retd.) to inquire into the circumstances leading to the incident that occurred at Mukhrow village.
"The inquiry by the central agency would reveal the truth of the unfortunate incident and facilitate the punishment of the offenders," Sangma told the media, adding that the Assam police had made excess use of power on Tuesday.
Elaborating their discussion with the Home Minister, the Chief Minister said that the root cause of the border firing and other inter-state problems is the long pending border disputes with Assam.
"... shared with the Union Home Minister that the root cause of the tension that has been building up in the area and the other areas have to do with the long-pending border issue between Assam and Meghalaya. Different incidents have led to the situation becoming more tense which ultimately led to the situation where the incident happened in Mukroh village. Therefore, it is imperative that all efforts should be made to ensure that the border dispute is settled at the earliest," Sangma said.
He said that with the incident at Mukroh village, the ongoing border talks with Assam has hit a hurdle and there are a lot of areas where trust has to be rebuilt and therefore the intervention of the Central government is necessary to this end.
Sangma said that they also discussed with Shah about the safety and security of the people in the border area especially in sensitive and disputed zones and urged the Centre to initiate a process for both state governments (Assam and Meghalaya) come together to ensure such incidents do not reoccur in the future.
"We have requested the Home Minister for the support of the Centre to ensure that basic supply of essential commodities should not be disrupted and for cooperation of the neighbouring states for the same. Discussions also held on other matters like the demand for inclusion of Khasi and Garo languages in the VIII Schedule of the Constitution, implementation of Inner Line Permit," said the Chief Minister, who was accompanied by Deputy Chief Minister Prestone Tynsong, Home Minister Lahkmen Rymbui and two other cabinet ministers.
The Meghalaya cabinet delegation is scheduled to meet with Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma soon.
Tension has been prevailing in the village in West Jaintia Hills district and different parts of the inter-state border, necessitating deployment of additional security forces in the sensitive areas by both neighbouring states.
The Assam Police and forest guards intercepted a truck carrying timber at Mukroh village and after that, a large number of people from the village reached the spot and surrounded the police and forest guards leading to the firing.