Thursday, May 20, 2010

‘Assam may become Maoist haven’

Tilak Rai/Indian Express

Shillong:Meghalaya Home Minister H D R Lyngdoh has warned neighbouring Assam that in its eagerness to grab Meghalaya’s land by pushing migrants into the disputed Langpih village area on the Assam-Meghalaya border, it might, unwittingly, provide an ideal ground to the Maoists fleeing the security forces in other states.

The Langpih village issue came to the limelight after the Assam Police firing killed four villagers, belonging to two communities, in Langpih Bazaar.

The killings have led to protests and a backlash in the Jaintia Hills, East Khasi Hills, West Khasi Hills and Ri-Bhoi districts.

After stray incidents of violence were being reported from Shillong and adjoining districts, the Home Minister directed the Deputy Commissioners (DC) of Jaintia Hills, Ri-Bhoi, East and West Khasi Hills districts on Wednesday to convene a meeting of all the Rangbah Shnongs (headmen) to prevent such incidents turning into communal violence.

Lyngdoh informed the media on Wednesday: “The DCs of the four districts have been directed to immediately convene a meeting of the area headmen, including those belonging from minority community. I want to ensure that such incidents do not snowball into communal strife in the state because of the recent killing of four Langpih villagers by the Assam Police.”

Commenting on the reported violence in few local newspapers that a particular community has been driven out and beaten up in some areas in Jaintia Hills on Tuesday, Lyngdoh said he had contacted the Jaintia Hills DC, who had told him that such incidents had not taken place.

He said: “The DC has directed the Khliehriat SDO (Civil) to find out the reporter who had not only written factually incorrect news but was also communally inciting reports.”

Lyngdoh warned newspapers to resist from stoking communal violence by reporting false and communally inflammatory reports when the state government was doing its best to see that the Langpih killings do not flare up into communal violence in Meghalaya.

He said the killing was because of the boundary dispute between Meghalaya and Assam and not due to communal unrest in the area.

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