Shots fired in air on Assam-Nagaland border. Mariani MLA says he was target
Guwahati: Unidentified miscreants, suspected to be from Nagaland, fired at Assam legislator Rupjyoti Kurmi on Thursday when he went to look into allegations that some people from Nagaland had encroached on land along the Assam-Nagaland border.
Assam chief minister Himanta Biswa Sarma expressed shock at the incident and directed special DGP, Assam Police, GP Singh, to visit the spot and conduct a comprehensive inquiry.
Rupjyoti Kurmi, the Congress MLA from Mariani in Jorhat district that also borders Nagaland, said the incident took place when he was touring the Disoi Valley reserve forest area, located around 5 km from Mariani town.
“I had received information a few days back that people from the Nagaland side had encroached on an area which falls in my constituency. When I visited the spot on Thursday with local residents and some police personnel, there was unprovoked firing on us from the other side,” Kurmi said.
“More than 20 rounds were fired at us and my personnel security officers and the policemen accompanying me retaliated in self-defence. Thankfully no one was injured. I urge the state government to take up the issue seriously and remove the encroachment from Assam soil,” he added.
Police said the situation was under control and additional security personnel deployed in the area.
Jorhat superintendent of police Ankur Jain said he visited the area on Wednesday to take stock of the situation. “A day earlier, forest personnel went there and uprooted some betel nut trees planted in the area. The area is a disputed territory between both states,” Jain said.
Jain said local police personnel had requested lawmaker Rupjyoti Kurmi to avoid visiting the area but the Mariani MLA went ahead. He was accompanied by local residents including minors in violation of the Covid-19 restrictions in place in the state.
The presence of a large number of people and security contingent in the disputed territory appears to have triggered a reaction.
“As the area is disputed, people from the Nagaland side might have got worried seeing the crowd and policemen at the spot. Shots were fired in the air from the Nagaland side with muzzle-loaded rifles to scare away the Assam residents. Our security personnel also retaliated by firing blank shots. No one was injured in the incident,” said Jain.
The Jorhat district authorities are in touch with their counterparts in Mokokchung district of Nagaland to ensure that the situation doesn’t go out of control.
“It is unfortunate that an elected representative from Assam was fired upon by Naga miscreants when he went to inspect the spot where encroachment took place. The Assam government should conduct a thorough inquiry and ensure that all encroachments from Assam are removed,” said Congress legislature party leader Debabrata Saikia.