Keep us in Meghalaya, residents urge Conrad

Conrad K Sangma. ST file photo

SHILLONG, March 25: Fighting against diminishing hope, the leaders of Malchapara village on Friday made one more attempt to stop their village from going to Assam.
They met Chief Minister Conrad K Sangma early Friday morning and expressed their willingness to be a part of Meghalaya based on ethnicity and historical facts.
“We are still hopeful of becoming a part of the Meghalaya as the guiding principles – historical facts, ethnicity, administrative convenience, consideration of sentiments, the willingness of the people and contiguity of the land – still favour us,” village headman LB Marak stated in a memorandum to the CM.
Pointing out that Malchapara, which falls under the disputed Gizang sector, has been listed as a part of Assam despite the willingness of the people to be with Meghalaya, Marak said: “A statement made on the floor of the House to this effect not only surprised us but hurt our sentiments.”
The hopes of the villagers have been shattered as they have always considered themselves as part and parcel of Meghalaya, he added.
The headman said Malchapara has historically been a part of the Nonglang Sirdarship in West Khasi Hills. Located beside the Me’kamkit stream, the village falls under the Bandon Raja area of Meghalaya that Assam calls the Gizang Reserve Forest.
He said Malchapara will feel alienated if it goes to Assam against the wishes of the people.
Malchapara resident, Jewash Sangma said the delegation was disappointed with the chief minister’s reply. The CM said it would be difficult to include their village in Meghalaya but assured to raise the issue in the March 29 meeting with his Assam counterpart and Union Home Minister Amit Shah.
Jewash said the villagers will continue to protest unless their demand is met.
Deputy Chief Minister Prestone Tynsong on Friday said one has to accept the ground reality, take the middle path and make a few adjustments to solve a dispute, or else, there will be no solution at all.
“We had several meetings to make our people understand that we have to come halfway to resolve any issue,” he said while reacting to protests in some villages to be left out of Meghalaya.
Assam and Meghalaya had decided to resolve the interstate boundary dispute in six of the 12 areas of differences in the first phase.
Tynsong said it was unfortunate that some people do not seem to want a solution to the 50-year-old boundary dispute.
“A majority of the people wants the issue to end. We need to take a stand for our next generations to live peacefully (along the border),” he added.