Border firing: Most offices in Shillong shut; vehicles stranded

Most state government offices and few banks in Meghalaya capital city Shillong on Friday wore a deserted look amid “non-cooperation day” called by the five local organisations to protest against November 22 shooting incident which claimed five civilians of Meghalaya and an Assam forest guard in West Jaintia Hills district.

In the wake of the border firing, vehicle movement from Assam to Meghalaya remained suspended for the fourth day on Friday.

Attendance in the main and additional secretariat, maximum directorates of various departments was very thin as five organisations — KSU, FKJGP, HNYF, RBYF and JSU — called the “non-cooperation day” to protest against the firing by the Assam police and forest guards at the bordering Mukroh village.

Some of the offices including the North Treasury and District Transport Office were completely shut.

Activists of the agitating groups reportedly went to several government offices and asked the employees to shut down their offices.

However, no untoward incident was reported from anywhere in the capital city and its outskirts.

The state government has deployed additional central and state forces in various sensitive and important locations and installations.

Donald V. Thabah, General Secretary of the Khasi Students’ Union (KSU), one of the influential bodies of the five pressure groups, said that the five organisations would meet next week to decide their future course of action if the the Meghalaya Democratic Alliance government fails to take steps on their legitimate demands especially on the safety and security of the Khasi people residing along the areas bordering Assam.

The five organisations have been demanding setting up of police outposts in all the sensitive areas of the inter-state borders.

“Our agitation is not against the Assamese community or any other community. We hope that the state government would respond to our demands at the earliest,” Thabah said.

Hundreds of Meghalaya-bound vehicles including goods-laden trucks were stranded in various places in Assam.

The Deputy Commissioner of East Khasi Hills district, in which Shillong comes, responding to the media reports and social media posts in a statement clarified that currently, there was no shortage of petrol or diesel in the district.

The concerns expressed by oil companies, distributors, and tanker drivers from outside the state are being addressed to ensure that petroleum supplies reach the district and the public do not suffer, the statement said.

A Meghalaya cabinet delegation led by Chief Minister Conrad K. Sangma is scheduled to meet with Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma soon to discuss about the November 22 incident and the inter-state border disputes.

Tension has still 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 on November 22 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.

20221126-002003

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