GUWAHATI: The one-man inquiry commission investigating the fatal firing at Mukhrow in the West Karbi Anglong district, presented its findings to the Additional Chief Secretary of Assam’s Home and Political Department on Thursday.
Led by Justice (retd) Rumi Kumari Phukan, the commission was entrusted with the task of finding the root causes and contributing factors of this episode that had occurred under the Zirikinding Police Station, claiming the lives of five civilians and a home guard in November 2022.
While the commission was initially granted a specific timeframe to conclude its inquiry, extensions were sought on two occasions, with the investigation period finally culminating on September 22.
Throughout the course of the inquiry, the commission claimed to have meticulously examined a multitude of witnesses and scrutinised documents from various sources, notably the Forest and Police departments, along with submissions from different organizations.
However, it’s important to note that in a previous sitting of the commission in August, the Meghalaya government had drawn criticism for its conspicuous absence.
Not only did it fail to furnish critical witnesses and documents related to the incident, but even during the commission’s sessions at the Assam House, not a single representative presented themselves before Justice Phukan. The essence of these sessions, as underscored by the commission, was to ensure that any parties with relevant documentation or evidence could come forward.
Moreover, there had been a directive issued to the deputy commissioner of West Khasi Jaintia Hills district, mandating the appearance of witnesses before the commission. Yet, there remains ambiguity regarding the execution of these orders.
The roots of the Mukroh conflict can be traced back to a border dispute. On that fateful day in November, tension escalated when a truck, allegedly carrying illegally felled timber, was intercepted by Assam’s forest personnel.
This incident flared up in Mukroh village, which is among several villages ensnared in territorial disputes between Assam and Meghalaya.
In an effort to reconcile these long-standing interstate differences, both states inked a Memorandum of Understanding in Delhi in March 2022. This MoU aimed to address and resolve disputes in six contentious regions, with discussions still underway for the remaining areas, including the contentious regions of Langpih in West Khasi Hills district and Mukroh.