Situation tense but 'under control' along violence-hit Assam-Meghalaya border

Restrictions under Section 144 of the CrPC continued to be imposed in the clash site and surrounding areas

Representative (IANS Photo)
Representative (IANS Photo)


The situation along the Assam-Meghalaya border, where six people were killed in a village following violent clashes, remained tense but under control with security forces ensuring no further flare-ups, officials said.

Restrictions under Section 144 of the CrPC continued to be imposed in the clash site and surrounding areas, they said.

Meanwhile, in a relief to the people of Meghalaya, the Assam Petroleum Mazdoor Union (APMU) decided to resume transportation of fuel to that state, which it had suspended on Thursday, following assurance of security of tankers and crew from the neighbouring state.

At least 20 oil tankers, guarded by armed personnel, entered Meghalaya from Assam on Friday, ending the uncertainty over fuel supply to the state, the officials said.

Assam Police on Friday issued a fresh advisory asking its citizens not to travel to Meghalaya as the situation is still "not very good" in the neighbouring state, where police vehicles were torched and several people were injured during protests on Thursday night.

"Yesterday in Shillong, public burnt police vehicles. The situation is not very good. That's why we are advising people not to travel (to Meghalaya), especially people from Assam," Deputy Commissioner (East) of Guwahati Police Sudhakar Singh told PTI.

He said non-Assamese have been travelling to Meghalaya, but they are being asked to go in vehicles that do not have Assam-registered number plates.

At least five vehicles from outside Meghalaya have reportedly been burnt down in different parts of the hill state since the violence erupted on Tuesday, besides several cases of stone pelting coming to the fore.

Violence had broken out at Mukroh village near the disputed border between the two states in the early hours of Tuesday, after a truck allegedly laden with illegally felled timber was intercepted by forest guards from Assam.

Six people - five tribal villagers from Meghalaya and a forest guard from Assam - were killed due to the clashes.

Earlier in the day, the mortal remains of the Forest Protection Force personnel, identified as Bidyasing Lekhte, was consigned to flames as per traditional rituals in his native village in Karbi Anglong district.

In Meghalaya, attendance in government offices was thin in response to a call by various organisations for a non-cooperation movement in protest against the border violence, the officials said.

Several social organisations and student associations of Meghalaya, including the influential Khasi Students Union (KSU) and the Federation of Khasi Jaintia and Garo People, had declared the non-cooperation stir.

"We urged our brothers and sisters working in both central and state governments to support us by not attending offices on Friday as a mark of respect to the victims of extra-judicial firing at Mukroh by Assam Police," KSU general secretary Donald V Thabah said.

Later, in a joint statement, the KSU and the Shillong Socio-Cultural Assamese Students' Association (SSASA) refuted allegations that Assamese people are being targeted in Meghalaya.

Meghalaya Chief Minister Conrad Sangma had on Thursday said Union Home Minister Amit Shah has given firm assurances during a meeting held in Delhi of acting on his request for a CBI probe into the border violence.

Assam and Meghalaya have a long-standing dispute in 12 areas along the 884.9-km-long inter-state border, and the location where the violence took place is one of those.

The two states had signed a memorandum of understanding in March this year towards ending the dispute in six of the areas.

Meghalaya was carved out of Assam in 1972 and had since then challenged the Assam Reorganisation Act, 1971, which demarcated the border between the two states.

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