Pressure groups want MDA to fulfil border outpost demands

SHILLONG, Nov 25: A conglomerate of five pressure groups, such as KSU, FKJGP, HYNF, RBYF and JSU, on Friday said they will meet next week and decide on their future course of actions if the state government fails to take steps on their demands, especially ensuring safety and security to the lives of the Khasi people residing along the border with Assam.
KSU general secretary Donald V Thabah told The Shillong Times they have not set any deadline as such seeking fulfilment of the demands but they expect the state government to respond to the demands early.
According to him, the ongoing agitation is not against the Assamese or any other community.
“The government should fulfil our legitimate demands as soon as possible. We are demanding the setting up of police outposts in all the sensitive areas along the interstate border,” Thabah said.
He said the agitation held since Tuesday was to oppose the highhandedness of the Assam government against the Khasi villagers and condemn the alleged lackadaisical attitude of the state government towards addressing the difficulties and problems being faced by the border residents.
“We will have to meet again next week to decide on our future agitations if the state government continues to remain adamant,” Thabah said.
He said the proposed police outposts should be fully equipped in terms of manpower and infrastructure and they should have vehicles to patrol. There should be close coordination between the police at the outposts and the traditional heads of the villages along the border.
“The excuse that they cannot retaliate or respond to the Assam police highhandedness or atrocities targeted at the local villagers cannot be accepted,” the KSU general secretary said.
He suggested that the state government come up with a special branch for the maintenance of peace and harmony along the border.
Whether it is a border regiment or special cell, it will be responsible for the safety and security of the people residing along the state’s borders with Assam and Bangladesh, he said. “We want a force which will be able to protect and respond to any attempt by Assam either to intrude into the territory of Meghalaya or harass the border residents. We would want our people to have a sense of security when they go to their agricultural land or other places for any other activities,” Thabah said.
“It is for the government to respond to our demands. We want a long-term solution. We don’t want incidents like the ones in Mukroh and Langpih to take place again,” he said, adding it is the responsibility of the state government to take pro-active steps on the safety and security of the Khasi border residents.
Thabah said the KSU does not subscribe to the demand for Home Minister Lahkmen Rymbui’s resignation on moral grounds.
“If the Home Minister steps down, who will replace him? If a new Home Minister comes in, then we need answers on how he will be able to resolve the problems of the border residents,” the KSU leader said.
According to him, there is no guarantee that the issue will be resolved if the Home Minister steps down.
“The important thing is the security of the people residing along the border. What had happened in Block-I, Block-II, Langpih and Mukroh should not be repeated,” Thabah said.
He was not too excited about the Centre’s decision to get the Mukroh incident probed by the CBI.
“We saw several high-level committees and special inquiries constituted by the state government in the past but the report submitted by them failed to satisfy the people,” Thabah said, adding the KSU will wait for the report of the CBI.

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