Shillong: The Khasi Students’ Union (KSU) and the Shillong Socio-cultural Assamese Students’ Association (SSASA) on Friday clarified that the recent incident and the ongoing agitations in Shillong city are not ethnic-oriented or a Khasi-Assamese conflict.
Both organisations stated that it is directed towards the Assam and Meghalaya governments 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 KSU General Secretary Donald Thabah and SSASA president Surajeet Hazarika in a joint press statement said that it is understandable that the common citizen of Assam has nothing to do with the incident. Thus, the cordial relationship between the Khasis and the Assamese that had existed since time immemorial mustn’t be corroded by misunderstandings and misinformation at this juncture.
“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 evidence 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’ groups 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,” reads the statement.
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 1970s and the 1980s in Meghalaya when there was a state-wide agitation against foreign nationals in Shillong. “To date, both the organisations are working together to maintain the bond between the Khasis and Assamese in Meghalaya,” added both 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 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. The two organisations also appealed to both communities to refrain from mudslinging and posting negative comments, especially on 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 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 per the law and the immediate solution to the vexed border disputes taking into account the mandate of the border residents.
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