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'Unprovoked, uncontrolled’: Assam CM Himanta Biswa Sarma raps police over Meghalaya border violence

Assam CM Himanta Biswa Sarma asked the state police to restrain the use of lethal weapons while dealing with civilian issues.

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Himanta Biswa Sarma
Assam CM Himanta Biswa Sarma. (Photo: India Today/File)

By India Today Web Desk: Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma came down heavily on the state police over its handling of the incident of violence along the Assam-Meghalaya border. The CM asked the state police to restrain the use of lethal weapons while dealing with civilian issues.

Six people, including a forest guard with the Assam Forest Department, were killed following violence at Moikrang in West Karbi Anglong district along the Assam-Meghalaya border on Tuesday. The location where the violence took place is one of the disputed areas along the Assam-Meghalaya border with both the states staking claim on it.

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On Wednesday, Himanta Biswa Sarma, who also holds the Home portfolio in the Assam Cabinet, said, "I feel there was no need to fire to the extent the police did. The firing was a little unprovoked, and the police could have acted in a little more controlled manner,” he told reporters on the sidelines of a function in the national capital.

Also Read | What's behind the Assam-Meghalaya border dispute?

The chief minister said though the police had stated that they fired in defence during the clash, the use of force was a "little arbitrary" and it should not have happened.

PROBE TO BE HANDED OVER TO CENTRAL AGENCIES

Himanta Biswa Sarma further said that the Assam government has ordered a judicial probe and also urged the Centre to assign the investigation to a neutral agency such as CBI or NIA.

"We have not taken this as a prestige battle. If personnel of Assam Police were at fault, then they would also come under the ambit of investigation," PTI quoted the chief minister as saying.

Also Read | After 6 killed in firing, Assam orders judicial probe, vehicles barred from entering Meghalaya

The state government has also ordered action against the police and forest officials allegedly involved in the incident. The Karbi Anglong superintendent of police has also been transferred, according to an official release.

'BORDER REMAINS PEACEFUL'

Himanta Biswa Sarma also maintained that despite the clashes, the interstate border remains peaceful.

"I am in touch with the Meghalaya CM... The Assam-Meghalaya border is peaceful and it has always been peaceful," he said.

The incident has brought back into light the long-standing border dispute between Assam and Meghalaya. As many as 12 areas along the 884.9-km-long inter-state border are disputed and the location where the violence took place is one of them.

In March this year, the two states signed a memorandum of understanding, signalling an end to dispute in six of these areas.

Meanwhile, Meghalaya Chief Minister Conrad Sangma and his Cabinet team are likely to meet Home Minister Amit Shah on Thursday over the border clash with Assam.

(With inputs from PTI)