Warjri orders probe into exodus of labourers

A delegation of AGP led by its president Atul Bora (2nd from left) outside the Secretariat after a meeting with Home Minister Roshan Warjri on Tuesday. (UB)

 

SHILLONG: The State government while condemning the attempt to create tension between different communities living in Assam and Meghalaya by spreading rumours by Assam based TV channels — DY 365 and News Live — has ordered an inquiry into Monday’s reported exodus of Assam-based labourers following threats from certain groups.

Home Minister Roshan Warjri on Tuesday directed the State police to investigate the matter.

Warjri informed that she had spoken with Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi clarifying that there was no communal tension between the indigenous people and people of Assam residing in the state as aired by some TV channels.

“I have assured him that the government will ensure security to the people from Assam residing in the state. He (Tarun Gogoi) had also made assurance that the Assam government will issue an official statement to clear the doubts in the minds of the people in that state,” she said..

Earlier in the day, Warjri convened a high level meeting to discuss the matter. The meeting was attended by senior Government officials -KS Kropha, Jopthiaw Lyngdoh, PJP Hanaman, DGP , M Kharkrang, SP, East Khasi Hills and others.

She informed that a construction firm – Simplex — had employed the labourers and the company had not obtained labour license and labourers left the site on Sunday.

The Home minister issued a stringent warning saying that the Government would take action against those who take law into their hands.

Reacting to a query on the reports that some Meghalaya-based vehicles were stopped at Jorabat, the Minister denied any such incident and the report was also denied by Ri Bhoi police chief CVS Reddy.

Later in the day, a delegation of Asom Gana Parishad (AGP) and a delegation of All Meghalaya Assamese Association met the Home Minister over the matter and the Minister assured the delegation that Government was doing everything to normalize the situation.

The entire controversy surfaced after Assam based news channels reported that around 400 labourers of Assam were asked to leave Meghalaya by KSU members.

The labourers in the news channels also claimed that they were given only five minutes time to pack up their bags besides they were not even allowed to have their food.

Meanwhile, Additional District Magistrate of East Khasi Hills, Cyril V.D. Diengdoh on Tuesday said that four hundred Assam-based labourers who left the state would re-join their works in few days time.

According to Diengdoh, none of the labourers was assaulted during Sunday’s incident.

The labourers were engaged in the construction of IIM Shillong and the adjacent project in Umsawli.

He also clarified that Sunday’s NEHU incident has no connection with Monday’s incident.

UNI adds from Guwahati: Meanwhile, a top Assam Police official said that purported exodus of Assamese workers from Meghalaya was a result of labour permit-related problems rather than any conflict with locals.

Reacting to local television channels’ news of reported exodus of Assamese people from the neighbouring state, Assam DIG AJ Barua said the people who left Meghalaya had to do so due to some labour permit-related issues.

“We have contacted our counterparts in Meghalaya and learnt from them that the trouble was reported from a private construction company near Shillong. The company was employing labourers from Assam without proper permit and these workers had to leave when an inspection took place,” Barua said.