Meghalaya govt advises Assam Ministers not to visit Langpih

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Shillong, May 28 (UNI) The Meghalaya governmnet has advised the Assam government that it ''would not be wise'' for any minister from Assam to visit the Langpih area, which ''belongs'' to Meghalaya.

''The Chief Secretary had a telephonic discussion with his Assam counterpart with an advice that it would not be wise for any Assam Minister to lay the foundation stone of some official buildings in the area,'' Meghalaya Chief Minister Dr Donkupar Roy told reporters here today after making a sudden visit to Langpih yesterday.

Assam Health and Family Welfare Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma and Forest and Environment Minister Rockybul Hussain are scheduled to lay the foundation stone for a health sub-centre, inspection bungalow and residential quarters for Forest Guards at at Langpih on May 31.

Assam, the Meghalaya government maintains, has illegally occupied Langpih bordering Kamrup district, an area of about 40 kms.

The Chief Minister was accompanied by Deputy Chief Minister H S Lyngdoh and other senior governmnet officials.

''If Assam wants to help the people of Langpih with a sense of charity we have no objection. But if the foundation stone is being laid with intention to strengthen claim of the area then the Meghalaya government here has objection,'' the Chief Minister said.

Langpih has a total of 74 villages of Garo and Khasi people and is in West Khasi district, under Rambrai Syiemship (chiefdom).

''Constitutionally and also by official documentation the land belongs to Meghalaya,'' Dr Roy informed.

He alleged that Assam had encroached into the area in 1979 and was now pushing in new settlers, which was not acceptable to the people of Meghalaya.

Admitting that the area was neglected by successive governments of Meghalaya, Dr Roy alleged that the situation encouraged its Assam counterpart to take advantage and stake claim to the area.

''Assam has a police outpost manned by the fourth battalion of the Assam police, besides pushing Nepalis to settle in the area,'' the Chief Minister said.

The Synjuk ki Khlieh Nongsynshar (traditional institution heads) of Langpih area have called for 24-hour bandh from 0500 hours on May 30 to 0500 hours on May 31 to prevent the two Assam Ministers from visiting Langpih area.

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