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Friday, June 14, 2024

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Friday, June 14, 2024

Sensitive Issues

By The Editor

Fragile materials are very tender and need to be handled with great care and attention because they are easily breakable and beyond repair. Sensitive Assam-Meghalaya border problem which had been simmering for many years leading to frequent conflict and tension calls for spirit of patience and tolerance from both sides. We are all Indians and one should bear in mind that whether we belong to one state or the other the imperative requirement is to understand and respect one another. It is, of course, not an easy task and which we are reminded also by Eric Hoffer who said, “It is easier to love humanity as a whole than to love one’s neighbours.” However, it is worth trying and not to give up hope because in the end both sides will reap much benefits and live happily. One of the most sensitive issues is Langpih sector in West Khasi Hills district where the inhabitants are not only Khasis but Garos and Nepalis also who had been living for many years since the British Raj without encumbrance. After creation of Meghalaya cracks began to surface among different groups which escalated with passage of time.

The chairman of the Regional Committee for West Khasi Hills District and cabinet minister, Renikton Lyngdoh Tongkhar, has reportedly said that he would fix date sometime within a week for conducting inspection in Langpih sector. This will be followed by another round of meeting with all stakeholders before taking  necessary steps for recommendation to be forwarded to State government. Tongkhar admitted that Langpih sector is difficult and quite complex because of ethnic differences since Nepalis are residing in villages which are surrounded by Khasi and Garo villages. The purpose of his visit to Langpih is to receive feedbacks from Nepali residents regarding their opinions. Minister said that willingness of people is crucial and eases the matter for resolving long pending issues because from experiences of first phase of border talks, ethnicity and willingness of people out of five principles have dominated the exercise in ending dispute in six areas of difference shared between two states.

Problems arise in case of mixed reactions due to ethnicity and failure to arrive at consensus. In case of Langpih sector, Garo National Council (GNC) has opposed the proposal of Khasi residents of Langpih, who prefer to be in Meghalaya, for referendum to settle boundary dispute between Assam and Meghalaya. GNC president stated that the Garos residing along Assam-Meghalaya border have been living happily and peacefully on Assam side since creation of Meghalaya. According to him, some Khasis are canvassing among simple and ignorant Garos which the GNC and various Garo organisations strongly oppose. In the first phase, some villages have been included in Meghalaya against their wishes and so demanded to be restored to Assam. Hence situation is quite delicate which needs great attention and much patience. Gaelic proverb says, “Patience wears out stones”.

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