Imphal, Nov 24:
North-East Forum for International Solidarity (NEFIS) strongly condemns the firing incident along the Assam-Meghalaya state border yesterday, in which 6 people were killed. The firing which happened in Mukroh village of West Jaintia Hills was related to the border issues which have remained unresolved between the two states ever since the formation of the separate state of Meghalaya.
It should be noted that the traditional living areas of various indigenous tribes inhabiting both sides of the border overlap at many points. The people of the region access lands and forests across borders for their daily needs and for their livelihood. The present incident happened when some forest dwellers were prevented from transporting wood from Assam into Meghalaya. Due to the chronic apathy of the governments, the region has remained underdeveloped and thus the common issues of the indigenous people of the region remain unresolved. In order to shift the onus of their apathy, the governments have promoted disharmony among the people based on ethnic lines, instead of solving the issues once and for all. Thus, tensions along the border continue to simmer, and the present incident is the latest example.
NEFIS stands for protecting the democratic rights of the people and demands that the border issues should be immediately resolved between the two states in active consultation with the people of the region. The organization also demands that no decision concerning the people in the area be taken without the active consent of the people involved. NEFIS will be actively campaigning in the coming days for the resolution of the issue and to promote harmony among the various communities in the region.