SHILLONG: Meghalaya’s Deputy Superintendent of Police Firoz Rahman, who was severely injured in a mob attack at the state’s border with Assam, alleged on Saturday the Assam Police that was “battle-ready” sensing trouble in the area did not help him when he was assaulted, which may have been the result of instigation by some of its personnel.
Rahman, posted in the Ri-Bhoi district, was dispatched by the district administration on Wednesday to oversee the situation at Umlaper, a day after local people had gheraoed a camp set up by the Assam Police.
“Acting on an information that some trouble is brewing in the area, I and my team immediately left for that place. On reaching the disputed area, they (the mob) allowed us to enter but while coming back they blocked the road,” Rahman told PTI.
He said he expected the Assam Police to provide cover but they did not respond to the calls for help.
“They (Assam Police) were there but they did not respond to our calls for help. Local boys started assaulting us. The Nepalis and Karbi people came and started attacking me and my driver,” he said.
At present, the police officer is recuperating at a private hospital in Shillong.
On Tuesday, a team of the Ri-Bhoi Police and a contingent from Assam reached Umlaper after angry residents, mostly Khasis, dismantled a police camp set up in the area when two boys were beaten up the night before.
Rahman and his team were sent to the area again on Wednesday following reports of fresh trouble. It was at that time that they were attacked.
“They started assaulting us and my driver was thrown into the nearby paddy field. I somehow managed to run away for safety. If I hadn’t run away, they would’ve killed me!” he said.
“There was no provocation from our side. In fact, the same people talked nicely to us on Tuesday. But on Wednesday, they assaulted us. I think some Assam Police personnel may have provoked the crowd, since they didn’t come when we sought their help,” he said.
Rahman also pointed out that the Assam Police personnel were in full gear during the mob attack.
“What was the intention (of the Assam Police) of wearing bulletproof jackets if they were not apprehending some trouble?” he said.
“We tried to escape from the area but they (the mob) blocked our vehicle with some other vehicle. They hit me with a stone, and I got five-six stitches. My driver was also badly injured,” the police officer said.
Assam and Meghalaya have at least 12 border flashpoints, including Umlaper.
Chief Minister Conrad K Sangma and Assam CM Himanta Biswa Sarma have jointly agreed to resolve the long-pending border issue between the two states, having met twice this year.