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Gogoi faces protests during IIM visit

KSU protesters wave black flags and placards outside IIM Shillong on Friday. Picture by UB Photos

Shillong, July 13: The long-pending boundary imbroglio between Meghalaya and Assam is not confined to Langpih anymore.

Protests against the inability to resolve the dispute today reached the environs of Assam chief minister Tarun Gogoi during his maiden visit to IIM Shillong.

As his convoy entered the premises of the institute this morning, Khasi Students’ Union (KSU) activists greeted Gogoi with black flags, placards and slogans.

The protests came a day after Gogoi and his Meghalaya counterpart Mukul Sangma seemed to agree on a “third party” to resolve the dispute.

While the KSU activists were kept outside by the tight security, Gogoi reiterated his desire to “live peacefully” with Meghalaya.

“We want to settle (the problem) and live peacefully as good neighbours not only with Meghalaya but with the whole of the Northeast,” the Assam chief minister told reporters after inaugurating a 50KW solar power plant at the institute.

While stating there was “no problem” in going to the Supreme Court to resolve the issue, Gogoi, however, said, “We want to solve it on our own.”

On the timeframe to resolve the problem, Gogoi said, “Nobody knows how long it will take but we will settle it at the earliest. It will take time but at the same time, it should not strain our relationship.”

Asked whether Assam’s claim over Langpih, on the fringes of West Khasi Hills-Kamrup districts, was because of the reported availability of uranium deposits, he said, “Uranium deposits is a good thing. But it (staking claim) has nothing to do with uranium. (The boundary between Meghalaya and Assam) has to be a constitutional boundary.”

Gogoi, who was accompanied by his wife Dolly, later left the institute amid sloganeering by KSU activists.

The Assam chief minister arrived here yesterday to inspect the ongoing construction of the Assam House annexe at Dhankheti.

Last evening, activists of the People’s Movement at Langpih had called off their fast-unto-death, which commenced on June 30, to press for an early settlement to the boundary row.