| UDP legislator Ardent Basaiawmoit visits Ephrem Khardewsaw at Shillong civil hospital on Friday. Khardewsaw, who is on a fast-unto-death, had to be admitted to hospital after his health deteriorated on Thursday. Picture by UB Photos |
Shillong, July 6: The Meghalaya government today failed to convince activists at Langpih on the West Khasi Hills-Kamrup border to call off their fast-unto-death, which had commenced last Saturday.
State home minister H.D.R. Lyngdoh led a high-level delegation to the border village, deemed as a “disputed area” between Meghalaya and Assam, this morning to request the activists to shelve their fast as the state government was taking “serious steps” to resolve the long pending imbroglio.
The visit was made six days after a 28-year-old youth, Pynskhemlang Nongshlong of Rambrai village, along with few others, undertook a hunger strike at Langpih to push for an immediate settlement to the inter-state border imbroglio with Assam.
Lyngdoh was sent by chief minister Mukul Sangma to assess the situation and to appeal to the activists to withdraw the fast.
“The state government is not sitting idle, but has taken a keen interest to find a permanent solution,” Lyngdoh reportedly told the agitators.
However, sources said the home minister was asked by Nongshlong to provide the activists with a “written assurance” as to what are the steps that the state government would take to resolve the row.
The activists also wanted a timeframe to be chalked out by the government to resolve the imbroglio.
“We would like to know from the government about the exact dates when the two states are expected to start their inspection to verify the boundaries,” Nongshlong had reportedly said to the home minister.
To this, Lyngdoh said he needed to hold discussions with the chief minister before making any of the commitment.
At the same time, the home minister has reportedly guaranteed the activists that the written assurance would be sent to them in the next couple of days.
Today, another activist who was on fast, Honestbond Marbaniang, 37, was taken to Nongstoin from Langpih after his condition deteriorated.
Three activists — Ninghian Samakha, 85, Marka Sing Kharbani, 72, and Ephrem Khardewsaw, 33 — were admitted to the Shillong civil hospital yesterday morning for treatment.
Four other activists — Brimtaruse Marthong (27), Treiborlang Marwein (22), Tailan Marwein (26) and Maining Nonglang (36) — all from Mawsikar village, were shifted from Langpih last evening to Nongstoin for treatment.
Yesterday, Meghalaya dispatched a detailed report to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Union home minister P. Chidambaram on the prevailing situation at Langpih.
At a news conference here last evening, the chief minister had said that the border issue should not be politicised. “We should stop politicising the issue. Enough is enough as people are suffering.”
Declaring that the border imbroglio was “very sensitive”, Sangma stressed on the need to engage civil society groups in the settlement process.
“We should carry along everybody and a solution must be acceptable to our people. Even if the problem is settled, some political parties may say that the settlement is unacceptable to us,” he had said.