TURA, Sept 23 - The Centre for Environment Protection and Rural Development (CEPARD) today questioned the alleged highhandedness of Assam Police after it arrested five persons in the now infamous Chongga Dare case in Huhuapara near Mallangkona in West Khasi Hills in which a group of engineers from Assam were allegedly assaulted on September 8.
A statement from the NGO has come after a visit yesterday to the relief camp that houses the entire village.
The NGO questioned the inaction of the Meghalaya Government for failing the people of the village after they took shelter at a nearby school after being hounded allegedly by Assam police with the threat of arrest. The village has a total of 575 residents.
The village, which lies in the border between the two States, came into limelight recently over allegations by a team of engineers from Assam of being manhandled by villagers when they went to survey a nearby waterfall (Chongga Dare). While the villagers maintain that the place belongs to Meghalaya, the Assam authorities claim that the place falls under Assam.
“They are all residents of Meghalaya. They all have Meghalaya voter IDs and have always been getting State benefits from Meghalaya, including IAY, MGNREGS, etc,” said CEPARD member, Avinash Marak.
It is now almost two weeks since the incident took place and the villagers are fearful of returning. A police post has now been set up at Mallangkona to ensure illegal arrests do not aggravate the situation.
“There has been no investigation by Assam police on what happened. But based on the complaint by the engineers, five people from the area have been arrested by police, despite having no complicity in what happened on that day,” asked Avinash.
The NGO further alleged that the Assam police made arrests made in Meghalaya without the local police being informed.