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Mukroh Village: Devastated families, fear in air and lot of questions

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Shillong, Nov 25: The tragic incident that took place at Meghalaya’s West Jaintia Hills District, Mukroh village killing 5 of its residents has left many devastated.

Hub News travelled to Mukroh village – the epicentre of the incident. A small village with approximately 5,000 residents, the villagers were seen sitting near closed shops and the village playground discussing about what has brought upon their village. A village that was mourning five deaths had all taken their time to be with each of the families to pay their condolences.

On Tuesday evening, Hub News interacted with the bereaved families. The wife of Six Talang was trying to fathom what had happened. Talang is survived by his wife, six children and grandkids. He was also the breadwinner of the family and the family survived through what they were reaping from their farms.

The five people killed in the firing were Nikhasi Dhar, Thal Shadap, Six Talang, Chirup Sumer and Tal Nartiang.

“I’m heading to the farm to collect the utensils since we have already finished to harvest the rice,” recalled Six Talang’s wife about what her husband had said when leaving the house on Tuesday before he was shot.

Carnelius Lamin, a relative, said they were together when they were walking towards the spot. “He happened to be there since that was his way to go to the farm. He was just curious what was happening and wanted to take a look. In that chaos and confrontation that the people were having with the Assam police and forest guard, he was shot,” said Lamin.

The general secretary of the village, Hamar Bathmu Maskut, said he received a call early Tuesday morning that three villagers who were coming back from their farm were arrested and locked up at Mokoilum Outpost.

He said they rushed to the spot as soon as heard about the arrests where they saw the Assam police and forest guard standing next to the truck that had timber. “By then the villagers had all gathered and started demanding for the release of the three villagers. The firing took place after things went out of control,” said Maskut.

He added that the villagers had knives with them which was meant for the farm. “Most of the people there were heading to their farms. Those who came to demand for the release had sticks with them and not any kind of weapons,” stated Maskut.

The locals who now live in fear following the November 22 tragedy recalled the gunning down of 6 farmers in 2003 by Karbi Militants. The residents feel that if stringent action is not taken they can never live safely in their own land.

Village Headman, Hamboydei Sumer, urged the government to immediately set-up a police outpost at Mukroh since the people are living in fear and need police force. He added that they (Assam Police) had used force and entered their area.

“When the firing took place, I just put my head down and raised my hands in the air praying to God that I would be safe,” recalled Sumer.

On Wednesday, during the chief minister’s meeting with the locals of the area at Mukroh, a resident questioned the CM why the four policemen from Meghalaya police couldn’t use their guns like Assam Police. He went on to say that if the government cannot resolve the issues, then they are ready to fend for themselves by picking up guns.

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