FKJGP concern over weekly haat near Assam BOP at Langpih

“Delay in reopening old market can escalate tension among border residents”

GUWAHATI: The Langpih unit of the Federation of Khasi Jaintia Garo People (FKJGP) has warned that the weekly haat opened near the border outpost of Assam police at Lower Langpih last month could trigger “disharmony” between the Khasi and Gorkha residents of the border area.

As it is, the FKJGP has since early last month voiced its opposition to the development, having made pleas to the West Khasi Hills district administration to reopen the old market at Lad Mawdiangsnam.

Speaking to The Shillong Times on Sunday, FKJGP Langpih area unit general secretary, Marbor Nonglang said, “The weekly market set up by people from Assam might create communal tension in the wake of the delay in reopening the old market which has been shut since March in the wake of the pandemic.”

The inter-state border area, which has seen violence and tension over the decades in the absence of a lasting solution to the boundary dilemma, is inhabited primarily by the Khasi and Gorkha communities.

Nonglang said that apart from stoking disharmony among residents, local vendors were incurring heavy losses owing to the prolonged closure of the original market.

“People from Assam are trading in the market every Friday over the past month while petty traders from our state are facing the fear of being deprived of their due,” he said.

Nonglang further said residents were facing hardships since the closure of the market for over seven months now.

“People from Langpih have to go as far as Nonglang and Nongstoin to buy and sell goods. Most markets in other parts of Meghalaya have started opening following relaxation of restrictions earlier imposed on economic activities,” he said.

FKJGP (West Khasi Hills) assistant general secretary, Cary Oscar Kharmuti, on the other hand, said that the “organisation has been informed about Khasi people being asked to sign a NOC (no-objection certificate) and an agreement for opening shops at the new weekly market near the Assam.”

“We therefore oppose the new weekly market run by people from the other side of the border and request the deputy commissioner of West Khasi Hills district to immediately reopen the old market at Langpih,” Kharmuti said.

Asked about the federation’s claim, the All Assam Gorkha Students Union (Kamrup district committee) secretary, Gobinda Sarma however said he was not aware of any such proposal by the market authorities to traders from Meghalaya.

“Traders come from as far as Boko to sell various essential items at the weekly haat, which has opened for four Fridays till date,” Sarma said.

He further expressed concern about the COVID restrictions imposed by Meghalaya. “Our people cannot go there because of the curbs whereas their traders can freely come to our side,” he said.

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