People living in border villages of Meghalaya face extortion by Assam authorities: MLA

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An MLA claimed in the Meghalaya Assembly on Tuesday that people living in villages along the disputed inter-state border in the western Jaintia Hills district had been extorted by Assam government officials and militants.

They were also deprived of the rights to drinking water, health care, education, road connectivity and electricity, according to Nujorki Sungoh , who was elected from the Mookaiaw constituency in the western Jaintia Hills.

Chief Minister Conrad K. Sangma said the disputed territory being discussed by United Democratic Party (UDP) MLAs would be taken up in the second phase of border talks with Assam.

In the first phase, six areas of disagreement will be raised.

In a motion to draw attention, Singh said he (living in the disputed Block I areas) had been equally harassed by Assam government officials and militants.

He claimed that he had been extorted and deprived of his rights and property.
“They have been arrested without charge. They have been forced to pay taxes on land, houses and their livestock,” the UDP MLA said, urging the chief minister to Look at the matter.

In his reply, Sangma said that the inter-state border dispute in Block-1 areas of West Jaintia Hills District would be raised in the second phase of border talks with Assam.

The Chief Minister urged the people to maintain peace and tranquility in the border areas as talks were underway to resolve the border dispute.

Sangma also told the House that Meghalaya police had stepped up patrols in the disputed areas to instil confidence in the minds of villagers living along the Assam border.

He said that magistrates and police were taking immediate action against all the incidents which were affecting law and order in the area.

The CM said that development issues in the border areas are discussed at the level of Deputy Commissioners and SPs of both the states.

The two state governments agreed that central government schemes should be allowed to be implemented for the benefit of the people of the interstate border areas.

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