Firing incident has nothing to do with inter-state border dispute, says Assam CM

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The firing incident that took place after a clash between Meghalaya villagers and a contingent of police and forest guards from Assam has nothing to do with the border dispute between the two states, said Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma.
“Just to clarify that incident has nothing to do with the border, the way it is reported in national media. It was basically a clash between villagers and police regarding certain forest timbers,” Sarma told reporters.

“The matter was related to some clash regarding timbers and we have ordered a judicial inquiry and also referred the matter to the investigation by CBI or NIA. Compensation has been announced and the person responsible is put under suspension,” Sarma added.
Further, on being asked whether the incident will derail the ongoing talks on border dispute resolution, he reiterated that it has nothing to do with borders.
Meanwhile, the Assam government has announced Rs 5 lakh with each to the next of kin of the six deceased persons, who died in the firing incident.

Six persons including one Assam forest official were killed in firing in Mukroh in West Jaintia Hills on the border between the two states on Tuesday.
Soon after the incident, Meghalaya suspended mobile internet services in seven districts of the state for 48 hours. The telecom and social media services are shut across districts of Meghalaya namely West Jaintia Hills, East Jaintia Hills, East Khasi Hills, Ri-Bhoi, Eastern West Khasi Hills, West Khasi Hills and South West Khasi Hills districts.
On Wednesday, Meghalaya Chief Minister Conrad Sangma said the probe into the firing incident should be carried out by a central agency.

“I have also discussed with the Assam Chief Minister about the incident. We demand that a central agency should investigate. The National Investigative Agency (NIA) or Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) should inquire into and investigate the incident. The Assam government has also agreed and they will cooperate and they will also ask the Government of India for the same,” Sangma said.
Sangma visited Mukroh village and met the family members of the victims on Wednesday.
“I have come here to ensure proper action will be taken. In future, such oppression won’t happen. The border issue is our priority. I have discussed it with Assam CM. We’ll see central agencies probe the incident, Assam govt has also agreed to it,” he said. The Chief Minister also provided ex gratia of Rs 5 lakh each to the next of kin.

“We are here to ensure that the action is taken, all steps are required to ensure that in future this kind of thing and the difficulties you are facing should not be there. The border issue is our top priority and we will do everything in our capacity and we are able to resolve the border issue at the earliest,” he added. (ANI)

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