The Telegraph
Tuesday , January 7 , 2014
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More security for hill district

- Assam ministers visit Karbi Anglong, 17 pickets to be posted in remote areas
Rakibul Hussain talks to a victim’s kin in Bokajan on Monday. Picture by UB Photos

Nagaon, Jan. 6: Dispur plans to post fixed police pickets in the remote areas of troubled Karbi Anglong to ensure safety and security of people living in far-flung places.

Altogether 17 such pickets, manned by Assam police and CRPF personnel, will be posted in three subdivisions.

“The sites have been identified and the administration will do the needful,” forest minister Rakibul Hussain, who led a three-member ministerial team to Bokajan subdivision of the district, told The Telegraph this afternoon.

Hussain was accompanied by hills area development minister Khor Singh Engti, water resources minister Rajib Lochan Pegu and Karbi Anglong Autonomous Council (KAAC) chief executive member Tuliram Ranghang.

Pegu said they had directed the administration to set up the pickets to check the movement of arms within the district, bordering Nagaland.

Both Hussain and Pegu said they had asked the police and civil administration to take all possible steps to restore normalcy and ensure safety of people in the district.

Pegu said inspector-general of police (law and order) S.N. Singh, who is camping in the district, reviewed the situation with district officials today and that there were adequate forces in the area.

The Centre, which had despatched over 1,500 central forces to the area, fears the tension may not subside soon. “There is no likelihood of withdrawing the forces as of now,” a Union home ministry source, who pointed to the involvement of insurgents, said.

Pegu said the team, along with local MLA Klengdoon Engti and KAAC members, visited the families of two of the nine victims killed in Nagaland and assured them of all help. This includes the family of Harlongbi Engti, a Karbi Students Association leader.

Nine highly decomposed bodies had been recovered from Dimapur district in Nagaland on Friday night, of which five had been identified till yesterday while four were identified today. All hailed from Karbi Anglong.

Those identified today are Dhroram Lekthe and Hukur Singher from Dokmoka and Pratap Taro and Thengtom Singhar from Hauraghat. The bodies were brought to Diphu, the district headquarters of Karbi Anglong, from Dimapur this evening and handed over to relatives. “They used to work together in Kohima as labourers,” a relative said. “The four could not come home for Christmas as they were not paid, so they were coming home for the New Year on December 28. They had even called that day to say that they had left Kohima. Soon after, their phones were switched off and they disappeared,” another relative said.

The killings are believed to be a fallout of the clashes between Karbi and Rengma Naga militant groups. The clashes started after suspected Karbi Peoples Liberation Tigers cadres gunned down six persons in a remote Rengma village in Karbi Anglong on December 27. In retaliation, Naga militants are suspected to have killed nine persons in Dimapur district on December 28. Another person was killed in Karbi Anglong on January 4, taking the toll to 16.

“The government will pay a compensation of Rs 6 lakh to the families of those killed in the clash. Chief minister Tarun Gogoi has already announced a CBI probe into the killing of the nine persons in Nagaland,” Hussain said.

The convener of Karbi Human Rights Watch, Pankaj Teron, said they had scheduled a meeting of all civil society organisations in Diphu yesterday to find a solution to the crisis but the meeting was postponed last minute as they had to visit Dimapur to identify the remaining four bodies.

The political affairs committee of the Nagaland government convened a meeting today to review the situation in the state. It urged people to maintain peace and harmony and discussed the possibility of a third force trying to flare up .