Assam continues to ‘restrict’ movement of people to Meghalaya for fifth day


Guwahati: Assam continued to restrict the movement of people and private vehicles to Meghalaya for the fifth consecutive day on Saturday following violence in a disputed area along the inter-state border that led to the death of six people, police said.

On the other hand, Meghalaya has extended suspension of internet services in seven affected districts for another 48 hours from 10.30 am on Saturday.

The law and order situation in the affected districts of Meghalaya is, however, slowly returning to normalcy, with shops and commercial establishments in Shillong opening and significant traffic seen on roads.

No major incidents were reported in the Meghalaya capital. Only some miscreants burnt tyres on the road in West Jaintia Hills district, a police officer said.

Prohibitory orders under Section 144 of CrPC, however, remained imposed in the disputed area amidst heavy deployment of security forces.

Assam Police advised people from the state not to travel to Meghalaya apprehending law and order situation.

The travel advisory was issued after erupted in Mukroh village early on Tuesday after a truck laden with “illegally felled timber” was intercepted by Assam forest guards.

Six people — five tribal villagers from Meghalaya and a forest guard from Assam — were killed in the clashes that followed.

“We are asking people from Assam not to travel to Meghalaya at the moment. But if someone has to go to the neighbouring state due to some emergency, we are asking him or her to go in a Meghalaya registered vehicle,” a police officer said.

Barricades have been erected since Tuesday in Jorabat area of Guwahati and Cachar district, the two main entry points to the hill state.

Commercial vehicles, however, continued to move without any restrictions.

Transportation of fuel from Assam, which was suspended on Thursday by the Assam Petroleum Mazdoor Union fearing attack on tankers and crew, resumed on Friday following assurance of security by the Meghalaya government.

On the other hand, the Meghalaya government extended withdrawal 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, a notification issued by Home Department Principal Secretary Shakeel Ahmed said.

The government said that social media and messaging apps could be misused which may lead to a breakdown of law and order.

An organisation, the Hynniewtrep Indigenous Territorial Organisation, has announced it will observe ‘Red Flag Day’ on Saturday and burn effigies of the chief ministers of Assam and Meghalaya in Shillong.

Another organisation, Hynniewtrep Youth Council, said it will also stage a protest in Shillong demanding the arrest of the “erring” Assam personnel.

Meghalaya Police said it will continue providing armed escorts to oil tankers entering the state from Assam.

Meghalaya Chief Minister Conrad K Sangma had on Friday demanded action from the National Human Rights Commission, terming the firing incident in Mukroh as a violation of human rights.

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 is one of those.

The two states had signed a memorandum of understanding in March this year towards ending the dispute in six of the areas.Meghalaya was carved out of Assam in 1972 and had since then challenged the Assam Reorganisation Act, 1971, which demarcated the border between the two states.