GUWAHATI: In a big statement, Assam chief minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said that the Assam police personnel could have exercised more restraint and avoid the unfortunate deaths of five Meghalaya residents and one forest guard at Mukroh village on Tuesday.
While expressing grief at the loss of six innocent lives, Assam chief minister Himanta Biswa Sama said that incident appeared to be a result of “unprovoked firing” by Assam police personnel.
“I don’t think there was a need to open fire. It seems that our cops resorted to unprovoked firing,” said Assam chief minister Himanta Biswa Sarma.
He added: “The police could have exercised more restraint and avoid the loss of lives.”
The Assam chief minister further stated that the firing incident at Mukroh village in West Jaintia hills district of Meghalaya is not an inter-state border issue.
He added that the Assam government has already ordered for a judicial probe into the incident.
“We have also requested for a probe by a central agency – either by CBI or the NIA – even before Meghalaya raised the demand,” Assam CM Himanta Biswa Sarma said.
“If the personnel of Assam police are found guilty in the incident, even they would not be spared,” added Assam CM Himanta Biswa Sarma.
An official Assam government statement said, “In view of the firing incident at Mukhrow… the state government set up a one-man inquiry commission headed by a retired Judge of Gauhati high court.”
Six people, including an Assam forest guard, died after personnel of the Assam police allegedly opened fire at a crowd on Tuesday morning.
Among the six decreased persons, five were Meghalaya residents and one was an Assam forest guard.
Sources said the clash between the Assam police and a group of people from Meghalaya broke out after Karbi Aglong district forest officials seized a truck transporting illegal timber in the early hours of Tuesday.
The truck was intercepted on the Meghalaya border by an Assam Forest Department team at around 3am.
As the truck tried to flee, the forest guards fired at it and punctured a tyre. The driver, a handyman and another person were apprehended, while others managed to escape.
As police reached the spot, a strong mob from Meghalaya gathered at the spot at around 5 am.
As the mob gheraoed the forest guards and the police, demanding the immediate release of those arrested, the police fired at them to bring the situation under control.