SHILLONG: In light of the recent violence that unfolded in Lapangap village, situated near the Assam border, the Meghalaya government has unveiled its strategy to fortify security measures along the inter-state border.
Cabinet Minister Paul Lyngdoh, who also chairs the regional committee on West Khasi Hills border issues, has revealed that the state is actively training an additional 2500 police personnel. Once this training is completed, these officers will be deployed to strengthen security in border areas.
“Furthermore, we anticipate filling 1,500 vacancies by next year, summing up to over 4,000 personnel augmenting our police presence at the border,” he told the press on Wednesday.
Playing down Wednesday’s clash between the Karbi and Pnar communities in Lapangap as a “skirmish”, Lyngdoh informed that the Meghalaya government is liaising with Assam officials to address the incident. He anticipates a forthcoming meeting to discuss the border clash.
“We believe that these sporadic incidents will cease only when the interstate border disputes with Assam are finally settled,” he expressed, hopeful of a conclusive Memorandum of Understanding with Assam by the close of 2023.
When asked about if the government is planning to inspect the situation at Lapangap firsthand, Lyngdoh confirmed, “We are closely monitoring the situation. Both our deputy chief ministers will be visiting the affected areas in the near future.”
Meanwhile, the Khasi Students Union (KSU) has urged the Meghalaya government to ensure the safety of the villagers, stressing on the protection of Lapangap’s farmers during the harvest season.
Donald V Thabah, general secretary of the students’ body, expressed concerns over potential harassment from the Karbi community and Assam’s authorities. “While we seek harmony between the two communities, we cannot stand by and watch our people suffer recurring injustices,” read a statement issued by the organisation post the incident.
Thabah also highlighted territorial concerns, stressing, “Lapangap, along with other Khasi villages like Mukroh and Langpih, unequivocally falls within Meghalaya’s boundaries. Neither the Karbi Anglong Autonomous Council (KAAC) nor the Assam government can lay claims over them.”