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Villagers flee, Lapang apprises HM on BDR firing
Correspondent DAWKI, (MEGHALAYA) FEB 16
Published on 16 Feb. 2010 11:57 PM IST
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Panic reined supreme in Muktapur village, near the Indo-Bangla border in Meghalaya, even as villagers are moving to safer grounds after Sunday’s unprovoked firing by Bangladesh Rifles (BDR). Today, Chief Minister DD Lapang apprised Union Home Minister P Chidambaram over the phone about the plight faced by the people of Muktapur village after the firing incident. “I have informed him about the villagers leaving their homes and take shelter in safer places,” Lapang said, adding that he had requested Chidambaram to take up the matter at his level with the Bangladesh Government to settle the matter amicably. On Sunday, over 600 rounds of fire were exchanged intermittently in a span of four hours between the Border Security Force (BSF) and the BDR.This was the second such firing incident reported between the two border guarding forces in less than a fortnight. The Muktapur Lower Primary school bore several bullet marks, so too an adjacent temple. There were similar bullet marks on other sites in the village. “We don’t feel secure here anymore. The women and children and many others have moved out of the villages after Sunday’s firing,” Muktapur’s former headmen, Manoj Mannar told group of visiting journalists. About 100 odd families, especially those with women and children have moved out of Muktapur, Amki, Amlympiang, Amsynram and other villages along the Indo-Bangla border. They are either taking shelter in villages far from the border or are taking refuge in makeshift tents set up in nearby jungles. “Nobody from the state government has visited us after Sunday’s firing. There is a lot of insecurity here,” Mannar rued. Muktapur is about 20 km east of Pyrdiwah village, which was forcibly occupied by BDR in 2001 for days, claiming it as part of Bangladesh before being forced to retreat. However, State Border Area Development Minister Prestone Tynsong said, necessary instruction have been given to the Deputy Commissioner of Jaintia hills to assist the temporarily displaced people with the help of the BSF. Meanwhile, Inspector General of BSF (Assam-Meghalaya) frontier, Prithviraj said, the situation was normal in the area and both sides (BSF-BDR) have agreed to “maintain status quo” in the area. “We have strengthened all the BOPs and our men are on maximum alerts,” Prithviraj said.

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