Guwahati: Assam and Meghalaya governments continued to seem clueless to douse the tension triggered by the firing incident of Mukroh village on Tuesday as Assam continued to impose travel restrictions to Meghalaya and the neighbouring state continued to with its internet suspension for the fifth consecutive day.
The two northeastern states which were busy resolving its long pending border dispute and had already reached a halfway mark now found each other at a difficult juncture. The second round of discussion for resolving the border dispute which was supposed to be held this week now was pushed to an indefinite delay.
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 was one of those. In March, the two states signed a memorandum of understanding toward ending the dispute in six of the areas.
Meghalaya chief minister Conrad Sangma just days before the violence said that the second round of discussion may take longer time to resolve as the border dispute in the remaining six areas was far more ‘complicated’ than the previous areas.
On Thursday, Sangma after meeting union home minister Amit Shah in New Delhi and briefing him about the development, said, “We shared with the home minister that the root cause of the tension in this and other areas has to do with the long-pending border issue between the two states. It is very important that all efforts be made so that the border dispute is resolved. Now that this incident has happened, the talks that were going forward have hit a certain hurdle and there are a lot of areas where trust has to be built. Hence, the Centre’s intervention is necessary.”
Meghalaya was carved out of Assam in 1972 and had since then challenged the Assam Reorganisation Act, of 1971, which demarcated the border between the two states.
Meanwhile, Assam continued to restrict the movement of people and private vehicles to Meghalaya on Saturday. While commercial vehicles continued to move without any restrictions, transportation of fuel from Assam, which was suspended on Thursday by the Assam Petroleum Mazdoor Union fearing an attack on tankers and crew, resumed after the Meghalaya government assured security. Oil tankers were currently being escorted by armed police from Meghalaya.
On Saturday, the Meghalaya government extended the suspension of mobile internet services in West and East Jaintia Hills, East Khasi Hills, Ri-Bhoi, Eastern West Khasi Hills, West Khasi Hills and South West Khasi Hills for another 48 hours till 10.30 am on Monday.
The Meghalaya government decision came fearing rumor-mongering via social media and messaging apps which may lead to a breakdown of law and order.
Meghalaya based organizations-Hynniewtrep Indigenous Territorial Organisation and Hynniewtrep Youth Council, have announced that they would observe a ‘Red Flag Day’ on Saturday and burn effigies of the chief ministers of Assam and Meghalaya in Shillong. In the last couple of days, Meghalaya’s capital witnessed violence in similar protest rallies where agitators even threw petrol bombs on security personnel.