Border talks with Assam: 26 Jaintia wants to live in village Meghalaya.

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Shillong: At least 26 villages in the disputed Jaintia hills of disputed Meghalaya have written letters to the state government expressing concern over the possibility of being “handed over” to neighboring Assam, officials said.

At a meeting on Friday, village elders from 26 villages decided to stay in Meghalaya under an umbrella organization called Labang Nongphyllut Pangam Raliang Area Committee (LNPRAC) in Lamarang village.

Block I in Jaintia Hills District and Block II in Ri-Bhoi District are part of the six areas with more complex differences between Assam and Meghalaya that will be resolved in the second round of border talks.

The other four areas are Langpih, Borduar, Nongwah-Mawtamur and Psiar- Khanduli.

“Elders from at least 26 villages in the area have met me,” LNPRAC adviser Erwin Sutnga told PTI. He has written to the state government of Meghalaya on its desire to remain under the jurisdiction of the state.

He said that 10 more villages would soon submit their resolutions on this issue.

According to Sutnga, the villages under Block I and Block II were originally under the United Khasi-Jaintia Hills District and followed land ownership and jurisdiction of the Syiems.

However, he said that in April 1951, a notification from the then Governor of Assam, in which another district was created – the then Mikir Hills (now Karbi Anglong District) – resulted in relocation of some of these villages. Moved to the new district at that time.

He said that many objections on relocation of villages have been heard and have not been resolved till date.

Meanwhile, at least two people were injured in Jatalong village in the disputed Block II area along the Assam-Meghalaya border when they were attacked by unknown miscreants, officials said.

He said the incident took place on Friday evening and after the attack, police from both Meghalaya and Assam reached Jatalong to disperse the crowd. Tensions have been high in the area for some time.

A senior district official said that a magistrate from Nongpoh district headquarters in Ri-Bhoi district was also posted today to monitor the situation.

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