Mukroh police firing act of self-defence, says Assam CM; may not be true, asserts Meghalaya
Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma on Saturday asserted in the assembly that the police firing in Mukroh along the boundary of Meghalaya in November was an act of self-defence and to protect government properties.
Meghalaya Deputy Chief Minister Prestone Tynsong, however, said that what Sarma said “may not necessarily be the truth” and claimed that the Assam chief minister’s speeches inside and outside the assembly are different.
Six people - five Meghalaya residents and a forest guard of Assam - were killed in the violence on November 22.
Replying to a starred question, Sarma, who also holds the Home portfolio, said that the Assam forest official was "attacked and killed by the miscreants from Meghalaya".
"...thereafter five people died as a result of police firing which was done in self-defence and for protection of government properties," he said.
Quoting a report by the superintendent of police of West Karbi Anglong district, Sarma said people from the neighbouring state had "surrounded and attacked" the Assam personnel, demanding the release of three apprehended timber smugglers, leading them to open fire in self-defence.
The miscreants were preventing the police and forest personnel of Assam from discharging their official duties, besides attacking them and trying to snatch their arms and ammunition, he added.
Sarma added that a judicial enquiry has also been ordered in the matter.
To a query whether "miscreants from Meghalaya" have been frequently creating law and order situations along the inter-state boundary, threatening the life and property of innocent people, Sarma replied in the affirmative but asserted that Assam Police is maintaining strict vigil in the area in coordination with Meghalaya authorities.
Reacting to Sarma’s assertion, the Meghalaya deputy CM said, “That may not necessarily be the truth. A fair assessment of the situation that had claimed the lives of several people will unveil the truth.” The Meghalaya government is waiting for the report by a central agency and a one-man judicial inquiry commission tasked with probing into the violence, Tynsong told PTI in Shillong.
“Outside the House, the Assam CM has suspended the policemen involved in the violence and had taken appropriate actions. Inside the House today, it is a different story,” he said.
Sarma on November 23 had said in New Delhi that Assam Police used force in an "unprovoked, uncontrolled and arbitrary" manner.
Violence had broken out at the Assam-Meghalaya border in the early hours of November 22 after a truck allegedly laden with illegally felled timber was intercepted by forest guards from Assam. Six people, including a forest guard of Assam, were gunned down in clashes.
A beat office of the Assam Forest department was destroyed by a mob on November 22 following the death of six people.
Meghalaya Chief Minister Conrad K Sangma had on December 20 said the violence in Mukroh village could have been averted had all agencies of the two state governments kept “proper coordination and communication”.
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