Ministerial team visits Balakhawa village, Hek asks Congress not to ‘politicize’ boundary issue

Shillong, May 14: Health Minister A. L Hek on Tuesday asked the opposition Congress not to ‘politicize’ the long pending inter-state boundary dispute with Assam.

Hek led a team of ministers and MLAs to Balakhawa village in Ri-Bhoi district on Tuesday and took stock of the situation there.

Hek reacted to the recent allegations of the Congress that there was lack of seriousness on the part of the Meghalaya Democratic Alliance (MDA) government while handling the issue especially the arrest of the Secretary of Hima Nongspung, Michael Warjri, the resident of Balakhawa village.

Leader of Opposition and former chief minister Mukul Sangma had termed the MDA government as the most “irresponsible government” in the history of the state as it allowed Assam to encroach at Balakhawa village where Assam police had also arrest Warjri from the area which is inside Meghalaya.

“It is not right to politicize this issue. If I were in his (Mukul) place I would extend full cooperation to the state government instead of playing politics,” Hek told reporters after his visit to the village.

“I was also the minister during his time (Mukul). There is no need to make baseless allegations because when you were in power, you have not done anything…the issue has been there for a very long time, and it is meaningless to politicize this issue,” Hek slammed.

During the visit, Hek was accompanied by Urban Affairs Minister, Hamletson Dohling, Jirang MLA, S Sohtun, two other MLAs, Macmillan Byrsat and Renikton Lyngdoh Tongkhar.

“We have decided to take up the matter with the Centre and seek its intervention if required,” Hek said.

The district administration has been also asked to submit a report on the incident at the earliest.

Stating that it is a fact that the place of occurrence falls within Meghalaya, Hek said, “We demand our counterpart to immediately release Warjri and accordingly transfer the case to Meghalaya.”

The delegation found that the properties of Warjri have been damaged.

Asked if compensation will be paid to Warjri, Hek said, “It is for the chief minister to take a call on the matter based on the report to be submitted to him.”