State Mahila Indian National Congress has asked the chief minister and home minister to resign following the incident of border killing.
Several NGOs, local groups and political parties have condemned the shooting and killing of people at Mukroh in West Jaintia Hills on November 22.
While condemning the incident, state Mahila Indian National Congress president Joplin Scott Shylla demanded a CBI enquiry as well as the resignation of Chief Minister Conrad K Sangma and Home Minister Lahkhmen Rymbui for their laid back attitude.
In a statement issued, Shylla said, “The incident marks a new low of barbarism by the state of Assam and the incompetence of the present MDA government that should have made sure that our people at the border areas are protected and live a secured life.”
Seconding its women division, the Meghalaya Pradesh Youth Congress (MPYC) has also condemned the killing of villagers by Assam police.
“We stand united with our brethren of Mukroh in this difficult time that has dawned upon them,” MPYC president Banphira Lang Basaiawmoit said in the statement.
The MPYC expressed their anger and dismay that innocent souls have to pay with their precious lives at the inadequacy of the Assam police and administration.
“We pray for the injured and we wish them a speedy recovery and we also demand that our state government provides them the best medical care,” the MPYC vice-president said.
The MPYC also said that the Assam government should take responsibility and stringent actions should be taken against the perpetrators of this horrific crime against humanity.
According to the Youth Congress time and again, Assam police has exhibited its callousness in interfacing with citizens in its neighbouring states and its total disregard for human life and dignity.
“The monstrosity of the Assam Police’s high-handedness, as witnessed today in the early morning hours, in Mukroh is condemnable and we demand a representation to the central government on this cowardly and dastardly act,” Basaiawmoit added.
He also said that symbolism and tokenism of any form cannot replace the loss of precious souls, even as the MPYC demanded from the Meghalaya government to show its intent and to preemptively ensure that our people are protected from any ulterior agendas of our neighbouring state.
Thma U Rangli Juki (TUR) and KAM Meghalaya also condemned the incident and said, “People were first arrested for exercising their customary claims on the Forest produce and then when the villagers went to the Assam authorities to demand their release, they were fired upon. The residents of these areas were exercising their traditional customary rights over the forest produce that predate the modern notion of the borders. The land and forest belong to the people, not to the state.”
KAM Meghalaya and TUR demanded immediate action to be initiated against the perpetrators of this atrocity, compensation and medical support to the victims of these atrocities, people’s rights to the forest produce and customary rights of the people to the land are to be legally enshrined, and Assam-Meghalaya Border question to be immediately resolved keeping in mind the customary land rights, history and multi ethnic reality of the border areas.
A statement by Young Mizo Association, Shillong group, said, “We cannot tolerate such indiscriminate and massive shooting incident for any reason and we resolutely condemn it. Let the culprit be punished accordingly. The Young Mizo Association, Shillong group expresses its solidarity with the Khasi Students’ Union and the people of Meghalaya to overcome this difficult time.”
The association has also conveyed their condolences to the bereaved families.
Statement from Federation of Khasi Jaintia and Garo People (FKJGP) Garo Hills Zone said, “To mark the human tragedy and to show solidarity with our brethrens from Mukroh, the FKJGP Garo Hills Zone along with its allying NGOs from Garo Hills hereby appeal everyone to observe November 23, 2022 as black day and raise black flags as a sign of protest against the excesses of the Assam Police.”
Pointing out that it is not the first time that Assam police has attack the villagers from Meghalaya, the Khasi Students’ Union (KSU) has condemned the Assam Police for open firing at the villagers.
General secretary of KSU Central Executive Council, Donald V Thabah, told The Meghalayan, “This is not the first time that this thing has happened in the border areas, the state was celebrating its 50th Statehood and more than 50 innocent people were killed, not only in the border but in others place as well. The Khasi people will always be killed,” adding people living in the border are facing problem in their everyday life.
Refusing to believe that any smuggling was involved, Thabah said that this is just to mislead public and to defend themselves. Similar incident had happened 12 years back by the Assam police when they shot four people dead at Langpih in 2010. The government should take action to protect the people living in the border.
Thabah also mentioned that members of the KSU were already there in the spot. “The Meghalaya Police who were there during the entire incident didn’t do anything but ran along with the public,” he said.
The KSU will conduct a meeting to discuss and seek justice for the deceased, and demand the government to take serious action.
“The KSU will not stay quiet and the government must remember that this has happened before and it is high time that justice is delivered,” Thabah said.
The KSU also hit out at Assam news channel NE Live for false reporting and designating Moikrang in Karbi Anglong, adding five innocent Khasis were butchered by Assam Police, however, the news channel portrayed the Khasi villagers as timber smugglers, he said.
“Khasis are always being falsely disgraced as smugglers, drug dealers, prostitutes, bootleggers by others and nobody bats an eye. A Khasi is being killed in the street of Shillong simply for the sake of being a Khasi and nobody gives an attention. However when a non-tribal is slapped in the city, the IT cell of the religious fanatics will go into full swing creating memes and trolls and sadly these propagandas are being shared enthusiastically by other dumb Khasis especially girls,” Thabah said.
He further said Khasis are masters of their own land, Assam government has no rights on Khasi ancestral lands.
Prayer meeting for victims:
The Synjuk ki Nongsynshar Shnong ka Bri u Hynniewtrep (SNSBH) will be holding a prayer meeting for the victims who were killed during a firing by Assam Police.
The prayer meeting will be held at U Soso Tham Auditorium at 6 pm on Wednesday.
The SNSBH has also invited the NGOs to the prayer meeting. The SNSBH also said that it will send a memorandum to the governments of Meghalaya and Assam to punish those involved in the killing of innocent lives.
The umbrella body of the traditional heads has also demanded that the Assam government should pay compensation to the families of those who lost their lives.