Developed By: Workmates Core2Cloud
By BM Lanong
The well-conceived trip this time, discourteously organized by a mob from Assam, arrogantly riding on two wheelers to Langpih village of West Khasi Hills and escorted by Assam armed police personnel, was strongly condemned quarters. This action is not only provocative, but reeks of wild hooliganism, deliberately done in violation of official restrictions, especially during the ongoing corona virus pandemic. This is such a bizarre trip, reminiscent of the manner clandestine intrusion of Chinese soldiers in Galwan valley, Ladakh. This was never expected from the people of a neighboring state of the same country, which leaves behind another fresh wound in the age-old relationship between the Khasi-Garos and the Assamese people.
The sizeable Assamese population in Meghalaya, who have made this State their permanent abode through the ages and who have contributed richly in terms of varied educational, medical and cultural life, apart from peaceful and harmonious relationship have also been left asunder by such dastardly behavior, leaving a big question mark, ‘as if they cannot visit any part of the state in a normal way, during normal situations, and like sane and bonafide countrymen.’
To recapitulate a bit, such unpleasant visits to human settlements by outsiders from other states on frequent successions and with motives behind, is nothing less than trespass and the worst is that, Assam Police seems also to have a licence to kill like what they did while shooting down poor and innocent villagers in cold blood at Langpih 10 years ago. They can be sued easily for such offences, for taking real life as a film shooting. They better mark this as nothing, but prior notice.
In other words, such personnel should be rather posted to Ladakh areas to assist the army in training their guns at the country’s enemies, rather than sending them to a rural village to shoot frail villagers, who could have been easily overcome only by bamboo lathis. People in West Khasi Hills have found an unforgettable joke against Assam police. Leave them at that and thanks for the joke, that everybody enjoys, prompting even some wanting to see the faces of those fake heroes.
During the corona pandemic, in these far flung villages, villagers had some entertainments of sorts, another one by the sudden appearance of a nondescript alien at Langpih, who it was later revealed is a lady MLA from across the Assam boundary who came to see and inspect Langpih and other surrounding villages, for which she only received some publicity later.
There is actually, no harm nor was it illegal to make a normal visit to any part of the country by persons of goodwill. For a responsible public leader, especially for a sitting lady MLA, she would have been gladly welcomed especially by women, had prior notice been given. But after such a visit, she should better pursue now this contentious issue, in a manner that will evoke fair response from governments of both the states of Assam and Meghalaya, which will also invite the attention of the Centre, to resume peaceful dialogue between the two states with assistance of the centre to resolve the issue once and for all.
The big Assam elder brother, should never underestimate a younger Meghalaya. Though Meghalaya might appear tiny compared to Assam, but this tiny hilly region, coveted by Assam is very tough. Go through the pre-independent Indian history, one will find the Khasi states that did not surrender even to the mighty Britishers. That was only part of history.
Chandrachud Boundary Committee
Come over to the historic Chandrachud Committee, which was constituted in 1985, by the then Chief Ministers of Assam and Meghalaya, Shri Hiteshwan Saikia and Capt W.A.Sangma respectively, a boundary committee headed by the former Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of India, Y.V.Chandrachud and assisted by former Chief Justice of Delhi High Court, V.S.Deshpande, took up a formal study and hearing from both the parties.
During the exercise to examine the historical boundaries of both the States, Assam came to know, or rather the present leadership should better know too, that many villages under Kamrup district were historically part of the Khasi States, now under Assam as disputed areas.
Moreover, about 356 villages of Jaintia Hills district, have been transferred to Karbi Anglong district of Assam in 1951 by a mere government notification. Assam on the other hand presented their own case, mostly based on constitutional aspects, as appears on records.
The Chandrachud Committee having gone deep into the historical data vis-à-vis the post constitutional records and after noting and appreciating the sentiments of both the parties, could not however make any recommendation, especially when both the states maintained their inability to concede. Lo and behold, the whole exercise came to an abrupt end in 1987.
Woefully it goes on record that the then Congress leadership, had miserably failed to follow up, to settle the boundary issue during the last century, when the all-Congress regime was there for long at the helm of affairs, both in the centre and in the states of Assam and Meghalaya, for the present generation to suffer and bite the dust.
Their beginning came to naught. Why didn’t they follow up? They are answerable to the public.
The Last Option
For the irresponsible shelving of the unresolved issue to oblivion by the Congress, heaven did not come down. The ball rolls now in the court of whoever commands the responsibility.
Hence, the present non-Congress governments in both Assam and Meghalaya, with BJP led Assam and the pro- BJP led Meghalaya, should take up the challenge and create history with high sense of responsibility, discuss and work out the common principles as prevailing today across the table and resolve the entire state boundary dispute once and for all, which should include areas of Garo Hills, Block I & II of Jaintia Hills on the basis of records, maps, documents and adding also the spirit of give and take, wherever amicable settlement seems possible. Pending this possibility, status-quo-ante should continue.