GUWAHATI: Five megalaya The villagers were among six people killed in a clash on Tuesday between a mob and a contingent of Assam police and rangers chasing a truck allegedly smuggling timber across the interstate border, reigniting the border dispute between the neighbors that had been partially resolved just eight months ago.
Assam barred local vehicles and tourists from entering Meghalaya after a state-registered car was set on fire in Shillong, 98 km from Guwahati, late in the evening. Meghalaya blocked mobile internet in seven districts for 48 hours and canceled all events, including the ongoing Cherry Blossom Festival, a mega music competition and a literature festival.
Megalaya CM Conrad Sangma he accused the Assam police of entering his state along with rangers and “resorting to unprovoked gunfire”. The BJP-led Assam government said the fire was “in self-defense”, mentioning that one of the victims was a state forest ranger.

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Both states said the clash took place on their territory. Assam said Mukroh village was part of West Karbi Anglong district, while Meghalaya marked the village as being within West Jaintia Hills district.
“Based on the reports we received, a truck carrying timber was chased by forest rangers and Assam Police and arrested at Mukroh in West Jaintia hills. The people of Mukroh gathered in large numbers and surrounded the police and forest rangers, resulting in shootouts in which five Meghalaya villagers and one forest ranger from Assam were killed,” Sangma said.
Assam released a statement saying ‘Mukhrow’ was under the jurisdiction of West Karbi Anglong Jirikinding Police Station. “The incident happened when the forest team tried to stop a truck that was smuggling timber… They were attacked by thugs, who resorted to violence. To save lives, the forest party resorted to fire.”
Both states have established commissions of inquiry, as well as requiring a “neutral” investigation by a central agency such as the NIA or CBI. Sangma said a special investigation team led by the Eastern Range DIG will investigate the incident until the Center launches an investigation.
As an interim measure, Himanta Biswa Sarma’s government excluded West Karbi Anglong SP and suspended officers in charge of Jirikinding Police Station and Kheroni Reserve Forest. The government has also withdrawn all police and forest rangers involved in the incident. Assam and Meghalaya also separately announced Rs 5 lakh each to the families of the deceased as compensation.
A delegation from Meghalaya’s cabinet will meet Union Interior Minister Amit Shah on Thursday to convey the state’s position and also inform the National Human Rights Commission, Sangma said. The border blaze comes three days after Mizoram officially apologized to Assam over the shooting deaths of six policemen and a civilian police officer across the interstate border in Lailapur in Cachar in July last year. The two states, under the direct supervision of Union Home Minister Shah, had settled land disputes at six out of 12 sites last March after five decades of status quo. Negotiations are underway to resolve the disputes in the remaining places.



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