Guwahati: A group of villagers from Meghalaya vandalized and torched an office of the Forest Department in Assam’s West Karbi Anglong district. Officials gave this information on Wednesday. The act was carried out after six people were killed in violence that broke out after the police stopped a truck carrying timber in the early hours of Tuesday. Carrying axes, rods and sticks, residents of Mukroh village in Meghalaya’s West Jaintia Hills district gathered in front of a beat office under the Kheroni forest range in Assam on the interstate border and set it on fire on Tuesday night. Officials said the mob ransacked the forest office and torched wooden items, documents kept there and several motorcycles parked in the premises.
Officials told ‘PTI-Bhasha’ that there is no information about the casualty of any forest worker in the incident so far. He told that the villagers left before the police and other security personnel reached the spot. After reports of attacks on vehicles from Assam in Meghalaya, the Assam Police has asked vehicle owners to avoid going to the neighboring state, citing security reasons. Police personnel put up roadblocks at various points to enter Meghalaya from Assam, including in Guwahati and Cachar district, asking people not to take vehicles registered in Assam to the hill state.
Sudhakar Singh, Deputy Commissioner (East) of Guwahati Police said, “From tomorrow, we are advising people not to visit Meghalaya till the situation becomes completely normal. We are only requesting private and small car owners not to travel as some mischievous elements are targeting such vehicles there.” He told that commercial vehicles have not been stopped so far. Sources said that vehicles registered in Assam were set on fire in Meghalaya’s capital Shillong on Tuesday evening. Earlier, miscreants had asked people to get down from the vehicle. Cachar Superintendent of Police Numal Mehta told that they have asked people from Assam and other states not to travel to Meghalaya by private vehicles.
It is worth mentioning that the forest personnel of Assam had stopped a truck in Mukroh area at around 3 am on Tuesday, which was allegedly carrying illegally cut wood. Six people were killed in the violence that followed, including a forest worker from Assam and five citizens from Meghalaya. The Meghalaya government has suspended mobile internet services in seven districts, while the Assam Police has sounded an ‘alert’ in border districts and ordered an inquiry into the matter by a retired high court judge.
Tagging Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Union Home Minister Amit Shah and Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma, Meghalaya Chief Minister Conrad Sangma complained in a tweet that Assam Police and Forest Department personnel had “entered Meghalaya and unnecessarily” The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is an ally of Sangma’s National People’s Party in Meghalaya.
Assam Police officials, however, claimed that the truck was stopped by a forest department team in the state’s West Karbi Anglong district and that the mob from the Meghalaya side later attacked the forest department personnel and policemen, leading to the Assam side. Firing was done to control the situation.
FIRST PUBLISHED : November 23, 2022, 16:09 IST