Delegation of headmen seeks government’s intervention to address border residents grievances

Shillong, Mar 22: A delegation of headmen sought the intervention of Deputy Chief Minister, Prestone Tynsong into various problems faced by residents residing along the inter-state border due unresolved boundary dispute between Meghalaya and Assam.

Led by the United Hynñiewtrep Movement (UHM), the delegation comprised of headmen from Langpih and Umwali in West Khasi Hills District and Khanduli in West Jaiñtia Hills District who aired people’s grievances and jointly sought the intervention of state government.

UHM general secretary Charlie J Rani said the organisation has suggested the state government that land registration should be free of cost in the inter-state border as has been done by the Assam government and lauded the state government’s decision for deploying police personnel at Umwali and Langpih.

Headman of Khanduli, Molin Ramut told reporters that the delegation has urged the state government through the Deputy Chief Minister to help the border residents to get their land registered with the concerned authorities of Meghalaya.

“The border villagers most of them are poor and cannot afford even to pay registration fees at Rs 2000 or Rs 3000 for registering their land. Due to this, most of us do not have land holdings to prove our ownership, and many a times we have to face undue harassment for not having proper land documents,” he said.

Accusing the Assam government of encroaching into Khanduli village, Ramut said the Assam battalion has illegally shifted its camp right inside the village for the past 25 years.

The camp situated at Pambong in Assam earlier, but it was shifted to zero point (about 20 km away) to Khanduli on the ground that the camp was being repaired.

The delegation demanded from the state government to immediately intervene to remove the camp of the Assam battalion and set up one police outpost at Khanduli to ensure safety and security of the border residents, because existing police outpost is located at present at Saitsama village, which is 8 km away from Khanduli village.

“The Deputy Chief Minister has assured that he would soon take up the matter,” he said.

Swingly Samakha, the Sordar of Langpih urged the state government to find ways and means to resolve the dispute with Assam.

Samakha also recalled the incident of attack on Khasi villagers at Umwali by Assam police on February 14, and demanded from the government to provide adequate security forces to ensure protection to the people residing along the inter-state border.

Samakha also said that the Khasi people there (inter-state border) have been part of the census since 1963 and have enrolled in the electoral roll of the state.

“That is why we are fighting because we want to be part of Meghalaya and we have no documents issued by the Assam government,” he said.

Sordar of Umwali village, P Syiemiong informed that the situation in the area has returned to normalcy. “After the intervention of the government, the households have also got electricity connection.”