MLA Rupjyoti Kurmi.

Mariani MLA Rupjyoti Kurmi had a narrow escape on Thursday after miscreants opened fire targeting the Congress legislator at the Disai Valley Reserve Forest area along Assam-Nagaland border in Jorhat district.

The incident took place at a hilly terrain of the reserve forest when the MLA Kurmi along with his PSOs and other security personnel had gone to verify reports of encroachment from the other side at the Dessoi Valley reserve forest area near the New Sonowal BOP when they faced a barrage of bullets.

Kurmi along with his PSOs, six security personnel, reporters and a few other people who had accompanied him had to flee to save their lives.

Assam chief minister Himanta Biswa Sarma expressing concern at the shootout has directed Special Director General of Police (SDGP) GP Singh to rush to the spot to take stock of the situation.

Kurmi said that he had returned last night after attending the Assembly session on hearing reports of the encroachment.

“As the legislature of Mariani where the encroachment has taken place it was my duty to go and see where the encroachment had taken place so that I could write firsthand account about it to the Assam government,” Kurmi told reporters following the incident.

“In Assam soil I have been shot at by a group of villagers who were armed by Nagaland, and I had to run away,” he alleged.

Kurmi further appealed to the Assam government to immediately take steps to evict the encroachers who had allegedly set up a village after cutting down and burning a large portion of the Dissoi Valley Reserve forest and planting betel nut and banana trees.

A person who accompanied Kurmi said that three reporters were badly injured while trying to flee and one had to be brought by security personnel who had accompanied them from the New Sonowal BOP.

“After we had fled, three policemen from the BOP covered our backs and returned fire following which firing stopped,” he said.

Assam which shares interstate border with Nagaland in the five districts of Charaideo, Sivasagar, Jorhat, Golaghat and Karbi Anglong in the past two decades has been frequently witnessing skirmishes mostly due to alleged incursions from the Nagaland side, leading to shootouts and killings.

MLA Kurmi too has been raising the issue of the border row outside and inside the Assembly from time to time.

Additional SP Mrinmoy Goswami and DSP Bibhas Das visited the spot after the firing.

Jorhat Superintendent of Police Ankur Jain said that there was a slight imbroglio near New Sonowal in Mariani but things have been normalized.

“Police from both sides are monitoring the situaion and everything is normal now. We will soon have discussions with our counterparts in Mokokchung, “he said.

Smita Bhattacharyya

Smita Bhattacharyya is Northeast Now Correspondent in Jorhat. She can be reached at: triptyaddy@gmail.com