| Pynskhemlang Nongshlong at a news conference in Shillong on Wednesday. Telegraph picture |
Shillong, June 6: Dejected by the failure of both Meghalaya and Assam governments to resolve the inter-state border imbroglio, a 28-year-old youth from West Khasi Hills is preparing himself for a fast-unto-death at Langpih from June 30.
Langpih, which lies between West Khasi Hills and Assam’s Kamrup district, has been one of the most volatile villages along the boundary between Meghalaya and Assam.
“The reason why I have decided to undertake this fast-unto-death is because I can no longer remain a silent spectator while the Assam government continues to harass our people at Langpih. If both governments do not take concrete steps to resolve the boundary imbroglio within these 24 days, I would be compelled to embark on a fast-unto-death from June 30,” Pynskhemlang Nongshlong of Rambrai village told reporters here this afternoon.
Blaming the Meghalaya government for being lackadaisical towards resolving the imbroglio, Nongshlong said, “The talks between the two chief ministers, chief secretaries and deputy commissioners have all become mere travesty where people have been fooled time and again. Even when talks were still on, the Assam government showed no respect to the status quo and, in fact, demolished the community hall of the Hima Raid Mynsaw at Langpih.”
Recalling the May 14, 2010, incident where four villagers were killed after Assam police resorted to indiscriminate firing at Langpih market, the youth said such incidents should never be repeated in the future.
The four villagers — Columbus Hujon, Charles Lyngkhoi, Ekros Rani, and Dennis Nongsiej — were killed while 12 others were injured on May 14, 2010, when Assam policemen allegedly opened fire at Langpih, around 150km from here.
In fact, Nongshlong will be holding his fast-unto-death at the monument constructed in memory of the four slain villagers.
“The idea behind my decision to hold the fast-unto-death at Langpih is to draw the attention of the Assam government towards the need to resolve the border row. I am also more concerned about the people of Langpih than those who are sitting at the state secretariat in Shillong,” he added.
At the same time, the youth appealed to his fellow youths, social organisations, women’s groups and all those who feel for the people living along the border areas of the state to lend support to the non-violent protest.
He said the Congress governments at the Centre, Assam and Meghalaya should resolve the decades-old row, with the UPA government taking the lead, to create amicability between the two states.
On May 24 this year, the chief secretary-level talks stressed on a coordinated approach towards reducing tension and boosting development in the area that both states claim as their own.
The talks, led by Assam chief secretary N.K. Das and his Meghalaya counterpart W.M.S. Pariat, decided on joint visits by officials of both the states at regular intervals, as any visit by officials of either state triggers tension.
The second decision involves active consultation by deputy commissioners of Kamrup and West Khasi Hills before taking up development projects to evade charges of pushing one’s own agenda and creating bad blood.
Besides, both sides will involve the local people to reduce tension and remove irritants. This could be through setting up of committees, which would coordinate with each other during flare-ups or on development projects.