The North East Students’ Organization (NESO) on Thursday said the violence at the Assam-Meghalaya border that killed six people was an outcome of the long-standing border dispute between the two states.
Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma has been saying that the Assam-Meghalaya border is peaceful, and Tuesday’s violence had nothing to do with the demarcation disputes, and erupted between locals and forest guards over wood cutting.
A meeting was held between two NESO member organizations — All Assam Students’ Union (AASU) and Khasi Students’ Union (KSU) — on the sidelines of a conference of the apex students’ body of the region in Tripura over the violence.
“We would like to call upon all the indigenous people that this issue is not an ethnic issue but of a border dispute, which the respective state governments are duty bound to solve,” the NESO said in a statement.
Mentioning that the two governments are currently engaged in border talks, it demanded that the states should take the confidence of the people living on both sides of the border before arriving at any final decision.
NESO urged the governments to provide security to the people living in the border areas to instill a sense of security among them.
“Both the state governments should also look into this very important aspect in providing security as there is an apprehension and a sense of insecurity amongst some of the residents residing in Guwahati and different parts of Assam and Shillong and different parts of Meghalaya,” it added. .
The Assam chief minister had on Wednesday claimed that neither anyone encroached Assam’s land nor there was an attempt to clear encroachment.
“The issue was related to the forest. I don’t know why the border issue has been brought in here. The police and local people had an altercation, resulting in firing. The issue is whether force has been used disproportionately or not,” he had said, reacting to statements by opposition leaders.
Six people, including a forest guard, were killed in the violence in West Karbi Anglong district along the inter-state border in the early hours of Tuesday, after a truck allegedly transporting illegally-felled timber was intercepted by forest personnel of Assam.
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