Both Assam, Meghalaya claim violence-hit Mukroh village in their territory

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Guwahati, Mar 14, 2023, IANS

Even as Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma has claimed that the disputed Mukroh village falls in the state's jurisdiction, Meghalaya Deputy Chief Minister Prestone Tynsong on Monday said "the village is very much within Meghalaya".

On November 22 last year, a clash between Assam Police, forest guards and civilians along the border with Meghalaya left six persons dead.

The deceased included five villagers of Meghalaya. Also, in the clash, several people were injured at Mukroh village in West Jaintia Hills district along the Assam-Meghalaya border.

In a written reply to a question by BJP MLA Bidya Sing Engleng, Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said in the state assembly that Mukroh village is a part of West Karbi Anglong district of Assam.

"According to the information provided by Superintendent of Police (Border) West Karbi Anglong district, the clash between Assam Police and forest pirates of Meghalaya was not related to inter-state border disputes between the two states," Sarma had said on Friday.

The Meghalaya Deputy Chief Minister on Monday termed the Assam Chief Minister's statement as "unfortunate".

He told the media that the regional inter-state boundary committees would be reinstated soon, and the talks between the two states are also expected to resume soon.

Talks on inter-state border disputes have suffered a setback since last year's November 22 firing incident.

The BJP in its election manifesto before the February 27 Meghalaya polls promised to solve the border dispute with Assam and establish permanent outposts to promote safety, security, and rule of law.

With two MLAs, the BJP is a part of the Meghalaya Democratic Alliance government led by the National People's Party (NPP), headed by Chief Minister Conrad K. Sangma.

The Supreme Court had put on hold the Meghalaya High Court's order staying the memorandum of understanding (MoU) signed by the chief ministers of Assam and Meghalaya on the border dispute.

The High Court on December 8 last year, on a petition by four citizens of Meghalaya, passed an order staying physical demarcation or erection of boundary posts on the ground, pursuant to the MoU signed on March 29 last year.

The MoU was signed in the presence of Union Home Minister Amit Shah by Meghalaya Chief Minister Conrad K Sangma and his Assam counterpart Himanta Biswa Sarma, "resolving" six of the 12 disputed areas along the two states in the first phase.