Assam institutes judicial probe into Mukroh firing

‘Unprovoked’ firing in M’laya land, claims Conrad; Attack by ‘unknown miscreants’ says Assam

Guwahati, Nov 22: The Assam government has instituted a one-man inquiry commission, headed by a retired judge of Gauhati High Court, to ascertain the circumstances leading to the firing at Mukroh along the Assam-Meghalaya border that claimed lives of five persons from Meghalaya and a forest guard from Assam in the early hours of Tuesday.

“The inquiry commission has been mandated to inquire into the circumstances leading to the incident. The commission will submit its probe report within three months,” an official statement issued here on Tuesday evening said.

Interestingly, while Meghalaya claims Mukroh to be within the jurisdiction of West Jaintia Hills district and not a “disputed border area”, Assam on the other hand, maintains that the area, known in the state as “Mukhrow,” falls under Jirikinding police station in West Karbi Anglong district.

“The incident took place between Assam forest officials and unknown miscreants at Mukhrow under Jirikinding police station under West Karbi Anglong district. It took place when the Assam forest party attempted to stop truck smuggling out illegal timber. When the truck was stopped by the forest party personnel, they were gheraoed by unknown miscreants who resorted to violence. In order to save their lives, the forest party resorted to firing,” an official statement issued here said.

However,  contrary to Assam’s stand, the Meghalaya chief minister has claimed that the “Assam police and forest teams had resorted to unprovoked firing” at the people who gathered in large numbers and surrounded the Assam police and forest personnel after the latter had seized the timber-laden truck at Mukroh village.”

It may be mentioned that the decision to conduct the judicial probe has been taken after the Assam government assured the Meghalaya government of taking all possible measures, including the conduct of an inquiry, to ascertain the circumstances leading to the unfortunate incident at a time when chief ministerial-level discussions were being held to resolve differences and issues in six ‘remaining but critical border areas’.

Ex gratia from Assam govt

Reportedly, the Assam government has announced an ex-gratia of Rs 5 lakh each to the next of kin of all the six deceased in the firing.

According to media reports circulating in the evening, the state government has taken tough measures in the wake of the unfortunate incident, suspending the officer-in-charge of Jirikinding police station, Kajal Nath, and transferring Imdad Ali, the superintendent of police of West Karbi Anglong.

In addition to the judicial probe, the Assam government has decided to hand over the investigation of the entire incident to a central/neutral investigation agency, an official statement here said.

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