The Khasi Students Union (KSU) and the Shillong Socio-cultural Assamese Students’ Association (SSASA) today stated that the recent incident and the ongoing agitations in Shillong city are not ethnic-oriented or a Khasi-Assamese conflict.
Both the organisations chose to clarify in a joint statement that it “is directed towards both the Governments of Assam and Meghalaya for their indifference and lethargic approach in resolving the persisting border disputes for the past 50 years resulting in the loss of several lives.”
The statement signed by KSU general secretary Donald V Thabah and SSASA president Surajeet Hazarika said, “It is understandable that the common citizen of Assam has nothing to do with the incident and thus, it is imperative that the cordial relationship between the Khasis and the Assamese that had existed since time immemorial should not be corroded by misunderstandings and misinformation at this juncture.”
“As a matter of fact, the relationship between the Khasis and the Assamese are not merely in terms of being neighbours but on looking back in history, one will find a plethora of evidences on collaborations, exchange of cultures and trade. Khasi archers were part of the contingent of the army of the great General Lachit Borphukan who fought against the invading Mughals. Similarly, students’ group of both communities, the KSU and the All Assam Students’ Union (AASU) are components of the North East Students’ Organisation (NESO) sharing common objectives and aspirations,” they said.
The organisations added that KSU and AASU supported each other during the Anti- Foreigners’ Movement in both states. The SSASA is an active supporter of the Khasi community during the tumultuous period of the 1970-1980s in Meghalaya when there was a state wide agitation against foreign nationals in Shillong. “Till date, both the organisations are working together to maintain the bond between the Khasis and Assamese in Meghalaya,” added both the leaders.
The KSU and SSASA stated that the fight is against the Assam Government and the Government of Meghalaya for their nonchalance towards solving border issues which have plagued the lives of common people living in these areas from time to time and not against the Assamese community whether in Shillong or elsewhere in Meghalaya.
Both the organisations further appealed to the general public not to be swayed by rumours and misinformation but to ensure that the brotherhood is maintained by both communities, especially in Shillong and Guwahati. They also appealed to both communities to refrain from mudslinging and posting negative comments, especially in social media which might lead to unwanted situations but to understand that both communities are eagerly looking for an early solution to the border disputes so that both the communities can live with dignity and in harmony.
Furthermore, the KSU and the SSASA have jointly demanded for the setting up of police outposts by Meghalaya along the sensitive border areas, the arrest and punishment of the people involved in the firing incident in accordance with the law and the immediate solution to the vexed border disputes taking into account the mandate of the border residents.