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Uneasy calm in Mukroh village after 6 killed in border violence

Security personnel, in large numbers, stood guard in the village to prevent any further untoward incident

Mukroh (Meghalaya): Mukroh village on Wednesday wore an eerie calm, a day after six people were killed in violence there, along the disputed Assam-Meghalaya border.

Shops remained closed and streets were largely empty as most people stayed indoors.

Security personnel, in large numbers, stood guard in the village to prevent any further untoward incident.

Two persons, who are undergoing treatment at a local hospital, having received bullet injuries in the clashes on Tuesday, said they had visited the violence-hit area after learning that some of the fellow villagers were in "danger".

Cheini Nartiang (48) was shot in his nose, and Elias Samaiang (36) in the chin.

"I saw five people falling unconscious right in front of me before getting hit myself. I don't remember anything after that," Samaiang, before the two left for North Eastern Indira Gandhi Regional Institute of Health & Medical Sciences (NEIGRIHMS) in Shillong.

Violence had broken out at the Assam-Meghalaya border in the early hours of Tuesday after a truck allegedly laden with illegally felled timber was intercepted by forest guards from Assam.

Six people, including a forest guard, were gunned down amid the clashes.

Meghalaya Chief Minister Conrad Sangma had complained that the Assam police and forest guards "entered the state and resorted to unprovoked firing".

Assam officials, however, asserted that the truck was intercepted in West Karbi Anglong district of the state by a forest department team and a mob from Meghalaya attacked the forest guards and policemen from the state, who, in a bid to bring the situation under control, opened fire.

Officials in Assam also said that a group of people from Meghalaya vandalised and burnt down a forest office in West Karbi Anglong district, shortly after the firing took place.

Mukroh village chief Hamboi Sumer, claimed that similar incidents along the border had gone unreported in the past.

"Six villagers in Mukroh were shot by armed personnel from Assam back in 2002, but the matter was not reported. No one had the courage to talk about it.

"In neighbouring Moolber village, one person was shot dead two years ago and the victim did not get justice till date," Sumer said, adding that "locals want justice".

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