SHILLONG, March 9 – Meghalaya’s somewhat porous 443-km international border with Bangladesh, the ethnically sensitive border with Assam and atrocities of the Garo National Liberation Army (GNLA) are areas of concern identified by the State Government.
The long international border with Bangladesh remains vulnerable in terms of “influx, smuggling and easy transit routes for the militants,” Meghalaya Governor RS Mooshahary said in his address at the Budget session of the State Assembly today.
“The State Government has taken up with the Government of India to intensify patrolling along the border and where human habitations and settlement are located near the border, to erect the fence along the Zero Line,” the Governor said.
He said the completion of the border fencing work is therefore a priority for the government. In some areas of the international border NGOs are demanding that the fence be erected on Zero line and not the bilaterally agreed norm of 150 yards from the border.
Regarding the Assam-Meghalaya border he said the region is “ethnically sensitive.” “Developments on Assam-Meghalaya border need close watch in view of ethnic clashes last year,” Mooshahary said.
Last year, many died and several thousand families were rendered homeless in one of the worst ethnic clashes the State witnessed between the Rabha and Garo community settled on both sides of the border.
The Governor also expressed concern about the activities of terrorist organisation, the GNLA in Garo Hills and certain areas of West Khasi Hills district.
“This group poses a serious challenge to peace and development efforts. Demand notes being served, killing of innocent civilians and abduction of citizens is a matter of serious concern,” the Governor said.
Mooshahary said sustained efforts will be taken by the Government to neutralise the activities of other militant outfits. “The State police, with the assistance of Central agencies, are taking all steps in order to affectively counter anti-national and criminal activities,” Mooshahary informed the House.