Although there is, officially, much goodwill between Assam and Meghalaya when it comes to resolving the longstanding border dispute between the two states, on the ground there is great apprehension in certain pockets.
Due to alleged continuous harassment by Assam police and the forest guards from in Block 2, the residents belonging to the Khasi community who live at Umsaw Lumdorbar village of Ri-Bhoi live with fear and are insecure about their futures.
According to the headman of Umsaw Lumdorbar, Paul Star Lyngdoh, the village forest has been forcibly encroached on by the Assam Forest Department with the creation of a fence but yet the village dorbar is helpless as the Ri-Bhoi district administration has paid no heed to their complaints.
It was on December 11 that the fence was dismantled by unknown persons but the Assam police claimed that it was removed by the villagers and threatened the leaders with arrest.
“The land which was encroached by the Forest Department of Assam is also agricultural land and this is the time of harvesting and the farmers feared to go to the farmland after the threats, leaving the crops unharvested,” he said.
For legal action to be taken over the construction of the fence, the village dorbar had approached the Mawlasnai police outpost and a Border Magistrate had come for inspection but no action has been taken by the Meghalaya side.