Meghalaya Chief Minister Conrad K. Sangma on Friday asked the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) to ensure action against those who killed six persons on his State’s boundary with Assam on November 22.
While his high-level team met NHRC chairperson Arun Kumar Mishra in New Delhi, State capital Shillong was shut down by pressure groups to protest the killings and demand the handing over of the Assam shooters to the Meghalaya government for trial.
Editorial | Disquiet in the Northeast: On Assam-Meghalaya boundary dispute
Friday also saw the Assam police continue to issue informal advisory to people not to travel to Meghalaya in view of the volatile situation while an Assam-based fuel transporters’ organisation resumed services to the eastern part of Meghalaya. More than 40 oil tankers reached Shillong and other parts of Meghalaya by afternoon to ease tension in the hill State.
Mr. Sangma and his team apprised the NHRC chairperson and other members of the situation along the Assam-Meghalaya border and presented a detailed account of the firing incident that claimed the lives of five Meghalaya villagers and a forest guard from Assam.
While Meghalaya claims the villagers were from Mukroh in West Jaintia Hills district, Assam says the village is Mukhrow in West Karbi Anglong district.
“The firing incident was a clear violation of human rights by the Assam Police and the Assam forest guards. A central agency will inquiry into the matter,” Mr. Sangma said in a video message after the meeting with the NHRC chief.
Seeking the NHRC’s support, he stressed the need for the sensitisation of forces deputed in sensitive border areas to prevent such incidents where precious lives are lost.
Mr. Sangma was accompanied by Deputy Chief Minister Prestone Tynsong, Home Secretary Cyril V.D. Diengdoh and other senior officials.
The Meghalaya Human Rights Commission had earlier taken up the Mukroh firing case and directed the State’s Chief Secretary to submit a detailed report within 15 days.
Offices, shops closed
The anger in parts of Meghalaya, triggered by the border shooting, has refused to die down.
On Friday, five pressure groups including the Khasi Students’ Union observed their ‘non-cooperation day’ by forcing all shops, offices and financial institutions to close down.
The pressure groups have called for a rally on Saturday.
There were a few stray incidents of violence over the last 24 hours with masked men attacking people on the streets, mostly non-tribal. Among the victims was hearing-impaired Alok Kumar from Bihar.
Posted as an Audit, CGST and Customs inspector in Guwahati, he was in Shillong for a two-week mandatory training at the National Academy of Customs, Indirect Taxes and Narcotics for promotion to Superintendent. He was shifted to a private hospital in Guwahati on Friday after initial treatment in Shillong.
Meanwhile, the United Christian Forum of North East India said it was pained by the unpleasant incidents that happen on the inter-State borders in the region and expressed solidarity with all those who are trying to settle the problems amicably.