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24-hr bandh in Meghalaya to protest firing
Correspondent SHILLONG, MAY 15:
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Published on 16 May. 2010 12:30 AM IST
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Angered with the killing of four people at Langpih, a disputed area between Meghalaya and Assam, six organisations have called for a 24-hour bandh on May 18 to protest against the firing incident, while Meghalaya chief minister Mukul M Sangma has summoned for a cabinet meeting on Monday.
“The cabinet will meet on Monday and followed by an all-party meeting and a meeting with various organisations,” Sangma said. At least, four people were killed and several injured when Assam police personnel opened ‘indiscriminate’ fire following a clash between tribal Khasi and Garo and Nepalese nationals.
“We have confirmed that four people died in the firing while we are yet to get exact figures of those injured in the incident,” Meghalaya Director General of Police SB Kakati said.
The chief minister said that he has also taken up the matter with Union Home Minister P Chidambaram and requested for setting up of an independent enquiry into the incident.
“I have also requested him (Home Minister) to immediately post a neutral force in the area to restore the confidence of the people,” Dr Sangma said.
In the meantime, he said a joint patrolling by the Meghalaya and Assam police would be made. Home Minister HDR Lyngdoh, who rushed to the incident site, announced an ex-gratia payment of Rs one lakh for the next of kin of each.
A joint meeting of Deputy Commissioner and Superintendent of Police of both West Khasi Hills (Meghalaya) and also Kamrup districts (Assam) was also held at Langpih to discuss ways and means to restore normalcy in the area and to avoid such incident in future.
Meanwhile, six organisations, including the influential Khasi Students’ Union today called for a 24-hour bandh on May 18 from 0500 hours to 0500 hours till the next day.
“As a mark of protest against the discriminate firing by Assam police on our people we have decided to call a 24-hour bandh on May 18,” KSU president Samuel B Jyrwa told journalists.
The bandh, he said is also to put pressure on the Meghalaya government to immediately set up a permanent police station at Langpih. Jyrwa said if the Meghalaya government fails to immediately comply with the demands the NGOs would decide further course of action.
At present, there is only a police outpost set up by Assam government at Langpih.
Terming the firing incident as a “discriminate” one resorted by Assam police to Khasi people violating human rights, the KSU President said that the meeting has also decided to write to the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) and the Union Home Ministry about the incident.
Late last year, the Chief Secretary level meeting of both the states had agreed in principle to maintain status-quo and that the border dispute should be solved within the ambit of the Indian Constitution.
In 1985, the Assam and Meghalaya governments entrusted Justice Y V Chandrachud to head the Committee of experts for opinion on the constitutional aspects of the boundary demarcation between the two neighbouring states.
Tight security

Security has been tightened in Meghalaya, particularly in the state capital, after the clash which broke out between two communities and subsequent police firing at a disputed Langpih village along Assam-Meghalaya border.
“All measures are being taken to ensure that the situation does not go out of control,” Meghalaya DGP S B Kakati said.
The DGP said additional security personnel have been deployed at vulnerable places to ensure there is no flare-up of the incident.
The incident happened at a weekly market in the disputed Langpih village, claimed by both the states, when a group of people attacked another community with firearms, stones, bricks and sticks.
Official sources said Meghalaya Chief Minister Mukul Sangma has instructed the police department to send additional forces to Langpih area, about 150 km from here.
Home Minister H D R Lyngdoh was scheduled to the visit the area to take stock of the situation Saturday.
Assam health minister, Himanta Biswa Sharma along with other Assam Police officials visited the village on Saturday.
Langpih is claimed by both the states citing contradictory documents from history and land records.
The Opposition NCP in Meghalaya has demanded resignation of Chief Minister for the incident. “Chief Minister should take moral responsibility and quit,” NCP Spokesman James Sangma said.

 
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