Assam

Four killed in firing at Assam-Meghalaya border over Timber smuggling

Meghalaya government has suspended mobile internet/data services for the next 48-hours in seven districts of the state

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GUWAHATI-  After the killing of four persons in a firing incident at  Assam- Meghalaya boundary in the wee hours today, Meghalaya government  has  suspended mobile internet/data services for the next 48-hours from 10-30 am today in seven districts of the state – West Jaintia Hills, East Jaintia Hills, East Khasi Hills, Ri-Bhoi, Eastern West Khasi Hills, West Khasi Hills and South West Khasi Hills.

Four people, including a forest guard, were killed in violence at the Assam-Meghalaya border after the police intercepted a truck transporting illegal timber in the early hours of Tuesday, officials said.

The truck was intercepted at the Meghalaya border by an Assam Forest Department team around 3 am, West Karbi Anglong’s Superintendent of Police Imdad Ali told PTI.

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As the truck tried to flee, the forest guards fired at it and punctured a tyre. The driver, handyman and another person were apprehended, while others managed to escape, he said.

The forest guards informed the Zirikending police station about the incident, and asked for reinforcements, he added.

As police reached, a huge number of people from Meghalaya armed with ‘dao’ (dagger) and other weapons gathered at the spot around 5 am, the officer said.

As the mob gheraoed the forest guards and the police demanding the immediate release of those arrested, the officers fired at them to bring the situation under control, he said.

“A forest home guard and three persons of the Khasi community were killed in the incident. The situation is under control now,” the officer said.

However, it was not immediately clear how the forest guard, identified as Bidyasing Lekhte, was killed.

In a tweet, Meghalaya Chief Minister Conrad Sangma said that ” in an unfortunate incident occurred at Mukroh village in West Jaintia Hills district,   6 persons died due to firing by Assam Police and Assam Forest Guards. our of 6, 5 were Meghalaya resident & 1 is from Assam forest Guard.

Meanwhile the incident comes months after Assam chief minister Himanta Biswa Sarma and his Meghalaya counterpart, Conrad Sangma, signed an agreement in March to resolve the five-decade-old dispute in six of the 12 contested areas along their 884.9 km-long border between the two states.

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