A group of villagers from Meghalaya allegedly vandalised and burnt down a forest office in Assam’s West Karbi Anglong district, following the killing of six people in violence that occurred in a disputed area along the border between the two states, officials claimed on Wednesday.
At least two vehicles – one in Mukroh village where the violence took place on Tuesday and another in Meghalaya’s capital Shillong- were set ablaze by a mob, they said. Armed with machetes, rods and sticks, residents of the village allegedly gathered in front of a beat office under the Kheroni Forest Range in Assam along the inter-state border on Tuesday night and set the structure on fire, the officials said.
The mob vandalised the forest office and torched properties such as furniture, documents and motorcycles parked in the complex, one of the officials said. However, no injury to the forest personnel posted there has been reported so far, he told PTI.
The villagers had left the area before a team of Assam policemen and other security personnel reached the spot, he said. An Assam government vehicle that was found abandoned at Mukroh village was torched by locals, another official said.
The influential Khasi Students’ Union took responsibility for the torching of the forest beat office and the Assam government vehicle at Mukroh and alleged that the MDA dispensation in Meghalaya failed to protect its citizens.
Members of the students’ union held demonstrations at the Ialong Civil Hospital where the bodies of all the six people were brought for post-mortem examinations and demanded that those responsible for the killing be handed over to the Meghalaya Police.
Following reports of attacks on vehicles from Assam in Meghalaya, the Assam Police continued to advise car owners to avoid entering the neighbouring state for safety. At various points to enter Meghalaya from Assam, including at Guwahati and Cachar district, the police personnel put up barricades and asked people not to travel to the hill state in a vehicle bearing a number plate from Assam.
“Since yesterday, we have been advising people not to go to Meghalaya till the situation completely normalises. We are only requesting the private and small car owners not to travel as miscreants are targeting such vehicles there,” Deputy Commissioner (East) of Guwahati Police Sudhakar Singh told PTI.
He, however, said the commercial vehicles have not been stopped as of now. Sources told PTI that a car with an Assam number plate was burnt in Shillong on Tuesday evening after miscreants asked the passengers to leave the vehicle.
Some taxi drivers, who returned to Guwahati on Tuesday night and Wednesday morning, said the Meghalaya Police escorted them to the border, but still, their vehicles were pelted with stones by onlookers while on the move.
Cachar Superintendent of Police Numal Mahatta said they asked passengers of vehicles from Assam and other states not to travel through Meghalaya as per requests from the hill state. “The Meghalaya Police had requested us to control vehicles going inside their state following the disturbances. Restrictions have been put in place as a precautionary measure for the safety of the people,” he added.
news source: India Today