SHILLONG: Tensions flared once again in the border village of Lapangap, situated along the interstate border of West Jaintia Hills district in Meghalaya, as fresh clashes broke out between the Karbi and Pnar communities on Tuesday.
Reportedly, the latest violence erupted when hundreds of Karbi individuals allegedly attacked Pnar farmers with a barrage of bows and arrows while they were tending to their paddy fields. As word of the attack spread, tension rapidly escalated in the area. Other villagers, infuriated by the assault, joined the confrontation, leading to a day-long skirmish between the two communities.
Although police units from both Assam and Meghalaya were on the scene, the Assam police reportedly faced difficulties in restraining the Karbi faction. Thankfully, the situation was eventually brought under control, averting further catastrophe.
Expressing grave concern, the villagers have urged the West Jaintia Hills district administration to intervene promptly and provide much-needed protection to the affected populace.
This clash is not an isolated incident. For several months, the situation in Lapangap and the adjoining areas along the Meghalaya-Assam border has remained tense due to recurring clashes between the Jaintia (Pnar) and Karbi communities, who share overlapping territories. The absence of clear demarcation of state boundaries has exacerbated the issue, leading to disputes over land ownership and trespassing.
Just last month, on August 24, tensions escalated when a group of individuals from the Karbi Anglong area, allegedly with ulterior motives, confronted locals and members of the Khasi Students’ Union in Lapangap. The stand-off, marked by heated exchanges, almost escalated into violence but was quelled by the timely arrival of police forces from Assam and Meghalaya.
Amidst the ongoing talks to resolve the vexed border issue between Assam and Meghalaya, chief ministers of both the states had met “informally” after an opening of a Karbi Hemtum in Shillong on September 13. Post the event, Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma and his Meghalayan counterpart Conrad Sangma had a discussion on certain important points regarding the second phase of the border row with the later admitting that the ongoing second phase of border talks is complicated than the previous one. The next formal meeting on the issue will be held in first week of October.