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Pressure groups demand Special Border Police Force for security of border populace

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Shillong, Nov 24: The five pressure groups on Thursday asked the state government to introduce a special border police force for providing adequate security to the people residing along the inter-state border with Assam.

The demand was made during a sit-in-demonstration organized as a mark of protest against the killing of five persons in the firing by the Assam police at Mukroh village on November 22, 2022.

This was followed by a candlelight vigil to pay respect to the departed victims in which hundred activists of the different pressure groups – Khasi Students’ Union (KSU), Federation of Khasi Jaintia and Garo People (FKJGP), Hynniewtrep National Youth Front (HNYF), Ri Bhoi Youth Federation (RBYF), Jaintia Students’ Union (JSU) and STIEH – participated.

Addressing during the sit-in-protest, KSU general secretary Donald V Thabah said, “If the state government is ready to take responsibility, let it introduce the special border police force and appoint a special DIG on border to provide adequate protection to our people living along the inter-state border with Assam.”

He said the Meghalaya government is spending so much money in the creation of Special Forces in the state. “The government in order to fight militancy and the HNLC has set up the special operation group, special operation team, SWAT and SF-10. Now, it is busy setting up of special teams but all these special teams are made to sit only in Shillong instead of sending them to the border and fight against the atrocities by the Assam police,” Thabah said.

He further alleged that the police in Shillong are not for protecting the indigenous people but to protect people from other communities.

Stating that Shillong does not need any special police team as the people can protect themselves, he said, “In 1979, it was not the police who chased out the Bangladeshis from Shillong but it was the Khasis. Therefore, we don’t need you here, we can protect ourselves.”

He said the Nagaland and Mizoram government and their police forces are committed to protect the people and their land.

“But we don’t have anyone to protect us in Meghalaya. Just after the Assam police opened fire on our people, the state government deployed heavy security forces in Mawlai and Jaiaw area and instead of fighting against the Assam government, they banned the internet,” he said.

Further slamming the government for its decision to ban mobile internet, Thabah said, “Internet is necessary during examination time. Why is the government scared of our youth who are holding mobile phones and using the internet? Instead of taking away the guns from the Assam police it has chosen to deprive internet connectivity to students who are in the middle of their examination.”

The KSU leader further questioned how Meghalaya police are expected to protect local people when the DGP is from Assam. “Why not appoint a local indigenous officer as DGP and also in other posts so that they can protect the people and the state,” he said.

Thabah also appealed to all government employees to join the non cooperation movement (NCM) to be held on Friday across the seven districts of Khasi and Jaintia Hills region.

“If you love your people don’t go to office tomorrow (Friday), sit at home and think about the future of the people,” he said while informing that health and educational institutions are exempted from the non-cooperation day.

In his speech, HNYF president Sadon K Blah said, “We condemn the barbaric acts of the Assam police, who have always encroached into Meghalaya boundary but we also condemn the inaction of the Meghalaya police who have failed to protect the people living in the inter-state border.”

He said the failure of the state government to resolve the boundary dispute has resulted in the loss of many precious lives adding “I demand both Meghalaya and Assam government not to settle the boundary dispute through bloodshed but through dialogues and mutual understanding.”

Blah further demanded the Meghalaya government to immediately order the arrest of the Assam police who were involved in the killing of the five persons at Mukroh.

“We want the Meghalaya police to treat these Assam police the way they are pursuing to arrest NGO leaders in our state,” he said adding “One cannot say that Meghalaya police cannot make an arrest and it is required for the Meghalaya government to constitute separate inquiry to find out the truth.”

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