The Hynniewtrep Integrated Territorial Organization (HITO) on Monday demanded the Meghalaya government to immediately stop the ongoing border talks with Assam.
In a memorandum submitted to Chief Minister Conrad K Sangma, HITO president Donbok Dkhar said, “We categorically demand that the present negotiation to settle the inter-state boundary of the state of Meghalaya should immediately be stopped in view of the nefarious and ulterior motive of Assam to claim areas outside the 12 settled areas of dispute as has been evidenced by the Mukroh firing incident in which five of our Pnar men lost their lives due to unlawful and indiscriminate firing by the Assam Police and Assam Forest personnel on November 22.
“The following arguments support our contention that all further negotiations on this matter should be stopped immediately and the Memorandum of Understanding signed between the Chief Minister of Meghalaya and the Chief Minister of Assam should be rescinded immediately”.
Dkhar further asserted the need to set up border outposts (BOPs) in the disputed areas as per the executive decisions of the Government of Meghalaya and the Government of Assam since 1983 onwards.
“In fact, in Block-1 the Police Outpost should be in Jrikyndeng village and in Block-2, it should be beyond Jatalong and Sabuda. There should be immediate action to set up temporary Border Outposts at Mokailum ahead of Mukroh village and other areas,” he said.
Further, the HITO president said that the recent loss of five lives at Mukroh must be blamed on the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA). “The delay to address and correct the constitutional anomaly with the status of the Khasi States and the restoration of the Khasi States National Assembly inaugurated on 29 April 1949 by Governor of Assam, in Shillong is one of the primary causes of the boundary conflict for last 75years,” he said.
He further maintained that any settlement of the boundary issue between the Government of Meghalaya and the Government of Assam without consideration and recourse to the Instrument of Accession will result in a constitutional crisis and the MDA and BJP will have to bear full responsibilities.
“As you are aware, land, forest, water minerals and excise are the exceptions which neither the Government of India, Government of Assam or Government of Meghalaya can violate. Any transfer of Khasi-Jaintia tribal land without recourse to the Instrument of Accession, and the 13th April, 1951 Notification with regards to Block-1 and Block-2, the Constitutional position as envisage in the Sixth Schedule to the Constitution of India will invite as well as open up avenues for appeal to the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues (UNPFII) and the United Nations Organization (UNO) where India is also a member,” he said.
“Constitutional duty of the Government of Meghalaya to remove politics from any consideration of settlement of the boundary issue and the need to constitute an inter-state council as per the provisions of Article 263 of the Constitution of India for a final and just settlement of the inter-state boundary between the state of Meghalaya and state of Assam,” he added.
Meanwhile, Dkhar said that the transferring of Block I and Block II to Assam is in violation of Para 14 of the Sixth Schedule in which it is mandatory to appoint a commission of inquiry before transferring any tribal area.
“In fact, in 1951 before the formation of the United Khasi and Jaiñtia District Council, the Governor of Composite Assam had taken it upon himself without the consent of the Khasi-Jaiñtia tribe to transfer the area now known as Block-1 and Block-2 by forcibly transferring our tribal land to form the then United Mikir Hills District Council which is now known as Karbi-Anglong Autonomous Council. This illegal act of the Governor is made blatant by the fact that there was never a report of any commission as required by Para 1 of the Sixth Schedule. It is in violation of Para 14 of the Sixth Schedule in which it is mandatory to appoint a commission of inquiry before transferring any tribal area,” he said.
Accusing the Assam government of creating new areas of dispute and making further illegal claims, Dkhar said it is sad to say that the present MDA government has relied only on the findings of Dr Mukul Sangma's 2011 Government which was ultimately stopped.
Further, the HITO also demanded the government to increase the compensation and support to the families of the five persons who were killed in the firing incident.