Meghalaya extends mobile Internet ban, Assam parties slam Himanta for taking actions against officials

By Express News Service

GUWAHATI: The Meghalaya government on Thursday extended the suspension of mobile Internet and data services in seven districts by another 48 hours, in the backdrop of some stray incidents of arson and attack on the vehicles of Assam in Shillong and elsewhere.

In a notification, the state’s Home Secretary CVD Diengdoh said the government received reports of arson and damages to Assam-registered vehicles from various parts of Shillong and other pockets of Jaintia Hills districts in Meghalaya. 

He said given the apprehension that social media could be used for the transmission of information, with the potential to cause a serious breakdown of law and order, the government decided to extend the suspension of mobile Internet and data services by 48 hours in West Jaintia Hills, East Jaintia Hills, East Khasi Hills, Ri-Bhoi, Eastern West Khasi Hills, West Khasi Hills, and South West Khasi Hills districts. 

An incident of firing on the border of Assam’s West Karbi Anglong district and Meghalaya’s West Jaintia Hills district on Tuesday morning had left five Meghalaya villagers and a forest guard of Assam dead.

It occurred when the Meghalaya villagers confronted the Assam Police and forest guards after the personnel had intercepted a timber-laden truck and taken into custody three of its occupants, including the driver.

Sporadic incidents of violence were reported after the border firing. A forest beat office was torched in West Karbi Anglong district. An Assam-registered SUV was also torched in Shillong and stones were pelted at some Assam vehicles in parts of Meghalaya.

In the wake of the violence, many tourists and vehicles remained stranded in Meghalaya.

As tension continues to run high, the Assam Police are not allowing vehicles from the state to move toward Shillong.

The Assam government transferred the SP of West Karbi Anglong district and suspended two police and forest officers. The Opposition parties viewed the actions as the government’s “surrender” in front of Meghalaya.

“Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma has surrendered before Meghalaya to continue as the convenor of NEDA (North East Democratic Alliance, a conglomerate of non-Congress political parties of the Northeast),” Assam Congress president Bhupen Kumar Borah said.

Lurinjyoti Gogoi, chief of Asom Jatiya Parishad, also slammed the Sarma government on the issue.

“How could the state government take actions against the officials when a judicial probe into the incident is on. With such actions, the CM surrendered before Meghalaya,” Gogoi said. 

Assam and Meghalaya have a long-standing dispute in 12 areas along the 884.9-km-long inter-state border, and the location where the violence took place is one of those.

The two states had signed a memorandum of understanding in March this year towards ending the dispute in six of the areas.

Meghalaya was carved out of Assam in 1972 and had since then challenged the Assam Reorganisation Act, 1971, which demarcated the border between the two states.

GUWAHATI: The Meghalaya government on Thursday extended the suspension of mobile Internet and data services in seven districts by another 48 hours, in the backdrop of some stray incidents of arson and attack on the vehicles of Assam in Shillong and elsewhere.

In a notification, the state’s Home Secretary CVD Diengdoh said the government received reports of arson and damages to Assam-registered vehicles from various parts of Shillong and other pockets of Jaintia Hills districts in Meghalaya. 

He said given the apprehension that social media could be used for the transmission of information, with the potential to cause a serious breakdown of law and order, the government decided to extend the suspension of mobile Internet and data services by 48 hours in West Jaintia Hills, East Jaintia Hills, East Khasi Hills, Ri-Bhoi, Eastern West Khasi Hills, West Khasi Hills, and South West Khasi Hills districts. 

An incident of firing on the border of Assam’s West Karbi Anglong district and Meghalaya’s West Jaintia Hills district on Tuesday morning had left five Meghalaya villagers and a forest guard of Assam dead.

It occurred when the Meghalaya villagers confronted the Assam Police and forest guards after the personnel had intercepted a timber-laden truck and taken into custody three of its occupants, including the driver.

Sporadic incidents of violence were reported after the border firing. A forest beat office was torched in West Karbi Anglong district. An Assam-registered SUV was also torched in Shillong and stones were pelted at some Assam vehicles in parts of Meghalaya.

In the wake of the violence, many tourists and vehicles remained stranded in Meghalaya.

As tension continues to run high, the Assam Police are not allowing vehicles from the state to move toward Shillong.

The Assam government transferred the SP of West Karbi Anglong district and suspended two police and forest officers. The Opposition parties viewed the actions as the government’s “surrender” in front of Meghalaya.

“Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma has surrendered before Meghalaya to continue as the convenor of NEDA (North East Democratic Alliance, a conglomerate of non-Congress political parties of the Northeast),” Assam Congress president Bhupen Kumar Borah said.

Lurinjyoti Gogoi, chief of Asom Jatiya Parishad, also slammed the Sarma government on the issue.

“How could the state government take actions against the officials when a judicial probe into the incident is on. With such actions, the CM surrendered before Meghalaya,” Gogoi said. 

Assam and Meghalaya have a long-standing dispute in 12 areas along the 884.9-km-long inter-state border, and the location where the violence took place is one of those.

The two states had signed a memorandum of understanding in March this year towards ending the dispute in six of the areas.

Meghalaya was carved out of Assam in 1972 and had since then challenged the Assam Reorganisation Act, 1971, which demarcated the border between the two states.