Amid talks between Meghalaya and Assam to resolve their border disputes, fresh tension broke out along the interstate border.
According to police inputs, the dispute broke out after an Assam police deputed at Karbi Anglong district of the state’s southern hills allegedly insulted a man from Meghalaya in Ri Bhoi district of central Meghalaya last Monday night.
This was followed by a group of villagers of the Umlapher area, about 77 km from the district headquarters Nongpoh, allegedly damaging the police border outpost on Tuesday where the alleged incident happened.
Karbi Anglong SP Ajagwran Basumatary, however, in an interview with Hindustan Times said the situation had returned to normal on Tuesday after he had a talk with his counterpart in Ri Bhoi district.
“But on Wednesday morning, some Meghalaya policemen accompanied by around 150 civilians entered Assam seeking a meeting on Tuesday’s incident,” said Basumatary.
Meghalaya’s move also incited the civilians in Assam side to gather around.
“The situation was brought under control after our police and civilians managed to send the Meghalaya policemen and residents back,” Basumatary added.
Basumatary said that tension flared up again after a few hours, when the deputy superintendent of police of Meghalaya’s Ri Bhoi district entered nearly 15 km inside Assam’s territory along with his security personnel, without any intimation to authorities in West Karbi Anglong district.
“We had no information and [we] don’t know why he turned up after the situation was brought under control earlier in the day. The Meghalaya police vehicles were intercepted by civilians on the Assam side and there was some pushing and heckling between both groups,” Basumatary told the newspaper.
He said the police team from Meghalaya was finally escorted back to the interstate border by Assam Police personnel.
Meghalaya counterpart, Ri-Bhoi additional district magistrate (ADM) MB Tongper said that there was no animosity behind the first group of policemen and Meghalaya residents, who entered Assam on Wednesday, as they meant to express solidarity with Assam residents but their visit was mistaken as intimidatory.
“Since yesterday we had agreed on joint patrolling and hence the officer with his team was present, which probably raised tension as residents thought police were accompanying the visitors and it resulted in an altercation,” Tongper claimed that at least one Meghalaya cop was manhandled by someone in the crowd.
Ri-Bhoi deputy commissioner Rosetta M Kurbah said she and her Karbi Anglong counterpart will meet on September 1 to discuss on maintaining status quo as the intentions of both sides are at the right place.
Recently, Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma and Meghalaya Chief Minister Conrad K Sangma had met in two meetings — in Shillong and in Guwahati — to resolve the border disputes at atleast 12 areas that had been pending since Meghalaya was carved out of Assam i 1972.
Tensions at Meghalaya breaks out close on the heel to Assam’s border disputes with Mizoram and Nagaland too.
While in Mizoram, following a clash between the two state’s polices in which 6 Assam police died and 50 other were injured, both the state’s spent a month in stalemate and then engaged into dialogues, along Nagaland border, shots were allegedly fired a group led by its then legislator Rupjyoti Kurmi, recently resigned, to take stock of the situation.
Both the disputed border areas jave been handed over to Central Armed Police Forces as a neutral force.