JOWAI/SHILLONG, Sep 27: A semblance of peace returned to Lapangap village in West Jaintia Hills on Wednesday, 24 hours after the Karbis of Assam and Pnars of Meghalaya clashed over a disputed segment of the boundary between the two states.
But tension prevailed, village headman D. Lyngdoh said.
As a peace building measure, a meeting will be held on Thursday at the level of the DC and SP.
West Jaintia Hills Deputy Commissioner, BS Sohliya said both the sides are coordinating and maintaining a strict vigil in the area.
He revealed that tension flared up against on Wednesday afternoon as mobs gathered from either side but police managed to douse the simmering anger. He said the Assam police fired tear gas canisters to disperse the crowd on their side.
On Tuesday, the two communities fought with bows and arrows and slingshots before the Assam Police personnel used tear gas to disperse the mobs. The Meghalaya Police personnel intervened to stop the clash too.
Chief Minister Conrad K Sangma has taken up the issue of the reported clash between the two communities at Lapangap with his Assam counterpart Himanta Biswa Sarma. Deputy CM in charge of Home, Prestone Tynsong would visit the site soon, officials said.
“The CM has taken the incident up with his Assam counterpart. I believe a meeting is going to take place very soon,” MDA 2.0 spokesperson, Paul Lyngdoh said.
Stating that the disputed areas have been prone to border skirmishes, he said: “A solution will come once we are able to resolve the interstate boundary dispute with Assam and as you know, we have narrowed down the problem areas from 12.”
He said the Meghalaya government expects to sign the final border agreement with Assam before the end of 2023 in order to end such skirmishes.
“I am given to believe both the deputy CMs will be touring the (disputed) areas very soon,” Lyngdoh said.
He said policing the interstate boundary, particularly the disputed sectors, has been a problem for the state because of a manpower shortage. “We are currently training 2,500 police personnel. Another 2,500 would be recruited to ease the manpower crisis,” he added.
He said the areas of differences in Langpih were narrowed down after the last meeting with his Assam counterpart. Lyngdoh is the chairman of the regional committee associated with the Langpih disputed area.
“I am confident that once we conduct the site visits post-monsoon and meet in October, we should be able to submit our final report in November. Today, Langpih is very tranquil unlike in the recent past,” he said.
The KSU urged the state government to provide adequate security for the residents of Lapangap, especially the farmers, who came under attack from Karbi people.
Members of the KSU West Jaintia Hills district unit will visit Lapangap village on Thursday to support the Khasi-Pnar residents.
In a statement issued on Wednesday, KSU general secretary Donald V Thabah said people from Karbi Anglong are taking advantage by claiming that the agricultural land owned by the Khasi-Pnar villagers falls within the jurisdiction of Assam.
“This problem always crops up during the harvesting season,” he said.
Lauding the villagers for not giving up, Thabah reiterated that the KSU will ensure that not an inch of Khasi-Pnar land is taken away by Assam.
The KSU general secretary also warned the people of Karbi Anglong and the Assam authorities against harassing the Khasi-Pnar farmers.
Asserting that Lapangap, Mukroh, Khanduli, Langpih, Sabuda, Umwang, Moolber, Moojem, Psiar, Khatkasla and other Khasi villages falls within Meghalaya, Thabah said the Karbi Anglong Autonomous Council cannot claim these villages as theirs.