New Delhi: Six people, including a forest guard, were killed in a firing incident this morning at Mukroh village in Meghalaya’s West Jaintia Hills, leading to tensions in the Assam-Meghalaya border villages. Meghalaya has suspended mobile internet services in seven districts of the state for 48 hours as flare-ups on the two state’s border can escalate quickly, as seen not too long ago.
Of the six dead, five were from Meghalaya and one was an Assam forest guard.
The incident took place when a team from the Assam forest department tried to intercept a smuggled timber laden truck at around seven in the morning. The vehicle did not stop and sped away, leading to a hot chase. However, the forest guards somehow managed to stop the truck by puncturing one of the tires at the Mukroh village in Meghalaya, where local villagers surrounded the Assam police and forest guards.
Conrad Sangma, Chief Minister of Meghalaya, was quick to react. He called the incident “unfortunate”, and said the Assam police fired first.
The Meghalaya government shut down mobile internet/data services in seven districts of Meghalaya beginning from 10:30 am today, “in order to prevent the misuse of media (WhatsApp and social media like Facebook Twitter, YouTube etc) to disturb peace and tranquillity in the state of Meghalaya and for maintaining law and order”. The state government has filed a First information Report, or FIR, and also ordered a judicial enquiry to determine the facts of the incident.
In March this year, Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma and his Meghalaya counterpart Conrad Sangma, in the presence of Home Minister Amit Shah, signed a “historic” agreement regarding their border disputes that have been pending for 50 years.
The pact is supposed to resolve the protracted dispute in six of the 12 places along the 884.9 km border between the two states.
The Home Minister had said with the signing of the agreement, 70 per cent of the border dispute between the two states has been resolved.
The dispute dates back to 1972 when Meghalaya was carved out of Assam. There have been different readings of the Assam Reorganisation Act.
Five Assam police were killed in an exchange of fire with their counterparts from Mizoram over a similar border dispute in 2021.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by GOVT.in staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)