Guwahati: Both Assam and Meghalaya states decided to hand over the investigation of the firing incident at Mukroh near the interstate border which occurred on Tuesday, to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI). In the incident, five people from Meghalaya and one forest guard from Assam were killed triggering panic in the region.
Already, Meghalaya chief minister Conrad Sangma has decided to meet union Home minister Amit Shah on November 24, to demand conducting the investigation into the case by a central agency.
“We will officially inform Amit Shah about the firing incident that happened in Mukroh village and demand that an investigation be made by a central agency either NIA or CBI,” Sangma said after a cabinet meeting.
A special investigation team (SIT) led by the DIG of Eastern Range would be constituted to look into the incident, CM stated. He further stated that “the same will be handed over to a central agency once approved by the Centre.” Sangma also said that the delegation will also meet the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) in New Delhi and submit a report on the incident for necessary action.
Sangma also said his government also decided to constitute a judicial commission under the Commission of Inquiry Act, 1952 to look into all the aspects of the incident that took place on Tuesday.
The Meghalaya chief minister said he had a telephonic conversation with the Assam chief minister and discussed about the incident. On the other hand, the Assam government has also decided to hand over the investigation into the matter to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI). Following the incident, the Assam government announced a grant of Rs 5 lakh each to the next of kin of the six persons who were killed in the firing incident.
Assam government has already instituted a Judicial Inquiry under a Retired Judge of High Court to ascertain the facts, circumstances and the exact reasons of the incident. In addition, West Karbi Anglong District Superintendent of Police Imdad Ali has been transferred with immediate action by the Assam government in connection with the firing incident at Murkr in Jirikiding on the West Karbi Anglong-Meghalaya border. Apart from this, Kajal Nath, officer-in-charge of Jirikiding police station, and Shikhari Enghi, forest protection officer of Kherni forest area, have been ordered to be suspended.
Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said, “It’s not an incident of border dispute but about a clash between villagers from Meghalaya and forest guards from Assam. I believe the security forces shouldn’t have fired so much. The death of six persons is not acceptable. That’s why a central agency probe is needed to unearth the truth.”
Besides, both states have already claimed that the incident has occurred inside their respective territories. Following the incident, while Meghalaya chief minister of Meghalaya clearly blamed Assam police and said that it was they who fired first entering in Mukroh village West Jaintia Hills, the Assam government, on the other hand, came out with a statement saying that an incident of firing took place between Assam Forest Officials and unknown miscreants under Jirikinding PS under West Karbi Anglong District.
Meanwhile, hours after a clash tension rose along the Assam-Meghalaya border, an SUV with an Assam number was set on fire by unidentified people in Shillong, the capital of Meghalaya on Tuesday night. The incident took place near Mahavir Park in the Jhalupara locality. As per sources, a fire brigade put out the blaze that left the SUV completely burnt, but no casualties were reported.
As per sources, miscreants from the Meghalaya side also set a Assam forest department camp on fire where the forest department officials were residing in the West Karbi Anglong district.
Sources added that, the miscreants from Meghalaya also managed to get into possession of the 0.303 mm rifle that belonged to deceased forest guard Bidyasingh Lekhthe. The sources further claimed that the mortal remains of Bidyasingh Lekhthe were in the custody of Meghalaya Police.
Assam Police, on the other hand, released three accused who had been detained in connection with the case and handed them over to Meghalaya Police in an effort to defuse the escalating tensions between the two neighbouring states.
The incident might also deal the second round of border talks between the two states. On November 10, Sangma said the second round of discussions with Assam for resolving the border dispute was likely to start by the end of this month. However, it’s still unclear whether the talks would be rescheduled or not.