SHILLONG: Amidst the ongoing border talks between the governments of Meghalaya and Assam to find a resolution to the vexed row, the Jaintia Students Union (JSU), on August 18, expressed concern about the potential threat of communal conflict with the Karbi community residing within the disputed areas of Block-I and II.
In a statement issued on Friday, the union warned the leaders of Karbi Students Association (KSA) not to make provocative statements that might disturb peace in the said areas.
“We emphasise that the Karbi Students Association (KSA) leader should refrain from making any statements that could lead to unrest and instead let the people decide freely,” read the statement.
Highlighting that Block-I doesn’t fall under a constitutional boundary or agreement, the JSU claimed that the area was forcefully detached from United Khasi Jaintia Hills for administrative convenience in 1951.
“We assert that the people residing in Block-I have the right to demand to return to the Jaintia Hills region in Meghalaya. Additionally, we warn the KSA leader that their association should take responsibility if any communal conflicts arise in both the states of Meghalaya and Assam,” the statement further stated.
Earlier in May, the Hynniewtrep Border Dispute Redressal Forum (HBDRF) had communicated with the Chief Secretary of Meghalaya, highlighting the challenges confronted by the Khasi-Pnar inhabitants in the Block-I region.
In the written correspondence, the HBDRF had asserts that the residents of villages located within Block-I are undergoing significant difficulties as a result of road closures initiated by the Karbi community. Previously in April, several civic bodies and pressure groups from the district had demanded that the state government provide adequate security to the people residing in Block I from harassment by the United People’s Front of Karbi Longri (UPFKL).
Following this, Chief Minster Conrad Sangma on August 4 had informed that he took up the issue of alleged harassment of Khasi-Pnar people with his Assam counterpart Himanta Biswa Sarma. “I have taken up the matter with the Assam chief minister and he is taking it very seriously,” Sangma had told reporters.