Meghalaya CM asks Assam government to stop ministers

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Shillong, May 30 (UNI) The Meghalaya government has dashed off yet another letter to Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi to stop his ministers from visiting Langpih, which "belongs" to Meghalaya.

Meghalaya Chief Minister Dr Donkupar Roy sent a letter to his Assam counterpart yesterday in the wake of reports that Assam Health and Family Welfare Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma and Forest and Environment Minister Rockybul Hussain decided to lay the foundation stone of a Health Sub-Centre, Inspection Bungalow and residential quarters for Forest Guards at Langpih tomorrow.

Assam, the Meghalaya government maintained, has illegally occupied Langpih bordering Kamrup district.

Deputy Chief Minister Hoping Stone Lyngdoh, who is also a local MLA of the area, said Meghalaya has also asked Mr Gogoi to clarify the intentions of the government in building the three set ups in Meghalayan territory.

In fact, the Synjuk Ki Khlieh Nongsynshar (traditional institution heads) of Langpih area has called for a 24-hour bandh, from today at 0500 hours, which will end at 0500 hours tomorrow to prevent the two Assam ministers from entering Langpih area.

Apart, from the civil society protests, the Meghalaya government has also sent two platoons of police to the nearby area.

The Meghalaya chief minister had said, ''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 the intention to strengthen claims over the area, then the state government here will object.'' Langpih has a total of 74 villages of Garos and Khasis 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 said Assam has encroached into the area way back in 1979 and is now pushing in new settlers, which is not acceptable to the people of Meghalaya.

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