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KSU East Jaintia Hills Unit Demands Removal of Illegal BSF Camps, Cites Harassment and Misconduct

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HT Digital

June 21, Friday: On Thursday, the KSU East Jaintia Hills District Unit met with Meghalaya Director General of Police (DGP) I. Nongrang, submitting a detailed memorandum calling for the immediate removal of illegal BSF camps in Sonapyrdi bridge, Dona Umbluh, and Ratacherra. The Khasi Students’ Union (KSU) highlighted numerous grievances faced by local residents due to the presence and actions of BSF personnel in these areas.

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The memorandum outlined the primary concern of undue harassment faced by locals from the BSF personnel stationed at these camps. Initially set up to enhance security and ensure border safety, these camps have instead become a source of distress for the local population, according to the KSU.

“While the objective of setting up these camps is commendable, it is disheartening to observe that a section of the local population is experiencing various forms of harassment at the hands of the BSF personnel stationed at the camp,” the KSU stated in the memorandum.

The KSU further criticized the deployment of BSF along the National Highway, arguing that it deviates from their primary role of securing the borders. The union emphasized that BSF forces should be stationed at the Bangladesh border to prevent illegal entries into Meghalaya, rather than occupying areas along the highway.

The memorandum also addressed the issue of unauthorized occupation of private lands by BSF forces. This, according to the KSU, is a blatant violation of property rights and has led to significant inconvenience for landowners. Instances of harassment were reported in villages like Lejei, Lahaleii, Huroi, and Hingaria, where villagers are subjected to unnecessary checks, especially during the rainy season, resulting in goods getting wet and spoiled, causing financial losses.

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The union alleged multiple incidents of misconduct by BSF personnel, including assaults on villagers. One such incident, cited by the KSU, occurred on March 2, 2023, when a group of armed BSF personnel allegedly attacked a student from Huroi village on his way to school. Further, the KSU highlighted tragic incidents where the presence of BSF was ineffective, such as the murder of a woman near Donaskur and a Khasi man in Umkiang.

The KSU also addressed the issue of inebriated BSF personnel allegedly assaulting villagers for minor reasons, creating an atmosphere of fear and intimidation. These actions have severely impacted the daily lives of residents, with many feeling unsafe in their own communities.

To address the rising concerns of illegal immigration and drug trafficking, the KSU also requested the DGP to establish an additional anti-infiltration check gate along NH-6, particularly at Tongseng. This measure, they argued, would help curb illegal immigration and combat the increase in drug-related activities in the state.

Rakesh Hazarika, Executive Director of the Centre for Efficient Governance, supported the KSU’s concerns. He elaborated on the broader implications for national security, pointing out that the combustion processes of cement factories release particulate matter of sizes 2.5 to 10 micrometres into the atmosphere. The PM 2.5 and PM 10 emissions near Air Force Station Digaru are not just an environmental issue but a serious national security threat, he emphasized.

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The KSU’s meeting with DGP I. Nongrang marks a significant step in addressing these pressing issues. By bringing these concerns to the attention of the highest law enforcement authority in the state, the KSU hopes to see swift action to remove the illegal BSF camps, alleviate the harassment faced by locals, and restore peace and order in the affected areas.

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