Meghalaya Chief Minister Conrad K Sangma on Wednesday said that he and his Assam counterpart Himanta Biswa Sarma will soon commence the second phase of dialogue to resolve the remaining six areas of difference along the inter-state boundary. The two northeastern states have earlier agreed to demarcate the boundary along six other areas of difference after conclusion of the first phase of the dialogue.
”We have been speaking to each other but are not able to find time as we have so many issues in hand. There are also some upcoming elections in Assam. So once these are over, I hope soon we will be able to initiate the second phase of the boundary talks,” Sangma told reporters here. He said that Sarma has assured him that Assam Police has been instructed to ensure that the situation along the inter-state boundary in West Khasi Hills district does not aggravate.
He was referring to a recent incident where Assam Police personnel had resorted to lathi-charge on residents of Malang Huhapra village in Meghalaya’s West Khasi Hills District when they protested the arrest of two villagers. The Assam Police had also allegedly tried to stop construction work and assaulted some residents of Mallangkona Salbari village.
Sangma said he has directed the police to investigate the incidents, and also taken up the matter with Sarma and urged him to ensure that necessary action is taken so that such incidents are not repeated. ”Last evening, I had a discussion with the Assam chief minister and he has assured me that necessary instructions will be given to the police to ensure such incidents do not happen again,” he said.
Sangma asserted that both states need to handle the issue with care. ”We need to show restraint. He (Sarma) was also concerned about this issue and he has assured me that he will get the necessary action done. The police will be asked to show restraint especially keeping in mind that discussion on the border issue is still on. Therefore, to avoid any kind of confusion or any aggravation in the situation, such kinds of acts should be avoided,” he said.
Sangma said ruling MDA coalition partners are well aware of the proceedings of the discussions and they have no questions or concerns regarding the first round of dialogue. He said that the MoU signed with Assam will not be reviewed.