Violence Hits Assam-Meghalaya Peace Talks, Conrad Sangma Meets Amit Shah


Violence Hits Assam-Meghalaya Peace Talks, Conrad Sangma Meets Amit Shah

New Delhi:

Union Home Minister Amit Shah met Meghalaya Chief Minister Conrad Sangma for over an hour on Thursday amid reports of fresh tension in the state. Reports say some people torched a traffic booth and attacked three police vehicles including a bus, in Shillong. The attack came as a candlelight vigil in progress against the November 22 violence on the Assam-Meghalaya border.

Mr Shah has assured Mr Sangma that the Central Bureau of Investigation will probe the firing at Mukroh area of West Jaintia Hills district. Six persons, including five from Meghalaya and an Assam Forest Guard personnel, were killed in the firing.

To maintain law and order, the Meghalaya government has extended the suspension on mobile internet and data for another 48 hours. The suspension has been imposed in seven districts, an official statement read.

“It was an unprovoked incident and excess force was used by the Assam Police. We have requested the Centre to ask the CBI or NIA (National Investigation Agency) to investigate the matter,” Mr Sangma told reporters after meeting Amit Shah. He also asked the Centre to ensure the safety of people in sensitive zones. The Chief Minister said Mr Shah has assured him that the Centre will “act on our request for a probe and the guilty will be punished”.

The incident has derailed the peace talks between Assam and Meghalaya. “In many areas, trust needs to be built again and for that, the support of Centre will be needed,” he added. The root cause of tension between the two states is a long pending border issue, he said.

“This is not a boundary dispute. It is related to smuggling. That’s why the case is being handed over to CBI,” a senior home ministry official told NDTV. According to him, the presence of CAPF (Central Armed Police Forces) has been increased along border areas too.

Yesterday, Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma announced that the investigation will be handed over to the CBI.

The Assam Cabinet took the decision in Delhi, where most ministers are attending a three-day celebration to mark the 400th birth anniversary of Lachit Barphukan.

The 17th Century general known for his leadership in the 1671 battle of Saraighat, which thwarted an attempt by Mughal forces to capture Assam, is an icon of the state.

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