Amid protests, Meghalaya ministers visit village where 6 killed in Assam Police firing

Shillong: Amidst protest by several NGOs, a ministerial delegation led by Meghalaya Chief Minister Conrad K. Sangma visited Mukroh village on Wednesday, a day after the Assam Police firing that left five Meghalaya villagers and an Assam forest guard dead.

Tension has been prevailing in the village in West Jaintia Hills district and different parts of the 885-km-long inter-state border, necessitating deployment of additional security forces in the sensitive areas by both neighbouring states.

The Meghalaya cabinet delegation met the next of kin of the victims and handed over the ex-gratia cheque of Rs 5 lakh each. After interacting with the family members, Sangma told the gathering at the village that the state government has decided to cancel all official functions and festivals to show solidarity with the people of Mukroh.

During the visit, the ministers stopped to interact with protesting pressure groups and assured them that the government would ensure justice for the victims. The Chief Minister told protesting NGOs that both state governments have agreed to request the Central government for a probe by central agencies, either the NIA or the CBI into the firing incident.

Sangma also informed the local people that a state cabinet delegation would met Union Home Minister Amit Shah in Delhi on Thursday, which would also be followed-up with a meeting with Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma.

During the visit, the Jaintia Students Union also submitted a memorandum to the Chief Minister demanding a police outpost at Mukroh village. Sangma said that his government has recently set up an outpost at Barato, which would soon be functional. However, he said that he would further deliberate on this demand.

Later, the Chief Minister, and other ministers held consultations with different stakeholders from the village and were told of their concerns and the different problems they had to face daily for the past several years along the inter-state border. The Chief Minister assured that these concerns will be submitted to the Union Home Ministry for redressal.

Sangma was accompanied by Deputy Chief Minister Prestone Tynsong and ministers Renikton Lyngdoh, Snaiwbhalang Dhar and Kyrmen Shylla.

Meanwhile, the main opposition Trinamool Congress also announced an ex-gratia compensation of Rs 5 lakh each to the next of kin of the deceased.

The Meghalaya government has also announced to constitute a judicial commission under the Commissions of Enquiry Act 1952 to look into all the aspects of the firing incident, an official spokesman said. The Meghalaya Chief Minister earlier said that Assam Police and forest guards entered Mukroh village and resorted to “unprovoked” firing, killing the five civilians of Meghalaya and the Assam forest guard.

The Assam Police and forest guards intercepted a truck carrying timber at Mukroh village and after that, a large number of people from the village reached the spot and surrounded the police and forest guards leading to the firing.

–IANS

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