Wednesday, March 22, 2023

Assam-Meghalaya border firing: NHRC seeks preventive measures

The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has taken cognizance of the November 22 firing incident along the Assam-Meghalaya border, and asked the Union Home Secretary and the Assam Chief Secretary to suggest measures in two weeks to prevent such incidents in areas of disputes between two states.

Five Meghalaya villagers and an Assam forest guard were killed and two others civilians critically injured in the November 22 incident.

The NHRC has taken cognizance of a memorandum submitted by the Meghalaya Chief Minister Conrad K. Sangma mentioning that six persons including one Assam forest guard, had died in firing by the Assam Police and Assam Forest Guards at Mukroh village in West Jaintia Hills District on November 22.

The Commission has observed that it seems, this incident has taken place due to the border dispute between the two states — Assam and Meghalaya, which is a larger issue, pending for long, a statement said on Tuesday.

It said that prima-facie, it appears that, had this dispute been settled, such type of incident would have been averted.

“Whatsoever may be the dispute between the states, the police has to use restrain in such situations,” the NHRC said, adding it would want to get examined the Standard Operating Procedure in operation, if any, about firing by armed forces/ police in areas of a border dispute between neighbouring states.

Accordingly, the Commission has forwarded the memorandum of the Meghalaya Chief Minister to the Home Secretary, and the Assam Chief Secretary.

“They are to examine and evolve mechanisms and suggest measures to prevent such types of incidents, particularly in areas in which there is a border dispute between neighbouring states. The response is expected in two weeks,” the statement said.

The NHRC said that allegedly, the incident ensued chasing a truck carrying timber, by the Assam Police and Assam Forest Guards.

The truck was detained in Mukroh village by these Forces. The villagers of Mukroh became agitated upon the entry of the Assam Police in their village.

They surrounded the Assam Police and Assam Forest Guards, consequent upon this firing took place, the statement said.

In the incident, four were found dead on the spot while the other four villagers were seriously injured and hospitalised, where out of them two villagers succumbed to injuries.


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