DIPHU, May 20: Several tribal organisations, including the Hills Tribal Confederation (HTC), the Autonomous State Demand Committee (ASDC), and the Karbi Students Association (KSA), staged a sit-in protest in Hamren, district headquarters of West Karbi Anglong, on Friday. The demonstration aimed to express their discontent with the ‘give and take’ policy implemented by the governments of Assam and Meghalaya regarding the inter-state boundary issue.
The chief convenor of the Hills Tribal League, Khorsing Teron, addressed the media during the protest, stating, “We protest against the continuous aggression from Meghalaya into Karbi Anglong and seek to ensure the safety of lives and properties along the inter-state border.” Teron demanded the withdrawal of the Regional Committee formed by the Border Protection and Development Department, led by minister Piyush Hazarika, as the committee was seen as unnecessary and a result of a fabricated dispute created by certain vested interests in Meghalaya.
Teron further clarified, “We have never asked the Khasi brothers to leave Karbi Anglong. The Khasis and Karbis have coexisted for ages, and we will continue to live together harmoniously. Khasi residents of Karbi Anglong should not be swayed by the instigation of vested interest groups or troublemakers from Meghalaya. We urge them to maintain peace as we have done in the past.”
A joint memorandum was submitted to the chief minister of Assam through the Deputy Commissioner of West Karbi Anglong, outlining the protesters’ demands. The memorandum called for the safety and security of properties in the border areas, the dissolution of the aforementioned Regional Committee, punishment for those involved in recent incidents at Mothade (B), Am-ih, Tadolangso, and Rong Ningkreng, immediate relief and rehabilitation for affected families, the establishment of permanent security stations along the border areas, and special development schemes, including the construction of all-weather roads from the district to the headquarters.
Holiram Terang, chief convenor of the All Assam Tribal People Confederation (AATPC), asserted that Karbi Anglong, including West Karbi Anglong, has well-defined boundaries established by notifications issued on April 13, 1951. These boundaries were validated during the formation of the Meghalaya Autonomous State in 1970 and the State of Meghalaya in 1971. Terang criticised the Assam Government and the Karbi Anglong Autonomous Council for their failure to protect the land and people in border areas, emphasising the need for the government to fulfil its constitutional responsibilities.
Prominent figures present at the sit-in protest included Chandra Kanta Terang, president of the ASDC; Saising Rongpi, convenor of HTC; Harsing Ronghang, president of KARAA; Rabindra Rongpi, general secretary of JCCPA; Jemson Timung, president of the Karbi Students Association; and Kajek Tokbipi, general secretary of KSA.