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No shots were fired at Assam MLA Rupjyoti Kurmi, claims Nagaland body

KOHIMA: The United Naga Tribes Association on Border Areas (UNTABA) has claimed that no shots were fired at Mariani MLA Rupjyoti Kurmi when he went to inspect the area for ‘encroachments.’

The UNTABA claimed that the MLA had crossed the boundary by more than 3 kilometre and entered Vikuto village in Nagaland territory.

“He forcefully stopped the villagers from continuing their normal cultivation works and destroyed their Areca nut and other crops, while also threatening and abusing the villagers. When the villagers objected to this high-handed behaviour, the armed Assam Police personnel, who were brought by the MLA besides his PSO, started shooting while they were leaving. The villagers fired two shots from a muzzle-loading gun well after the entourage left”, the statement claimed.

The UNTABA inits statement further alleged that the MLA “has a habit of stirring-up people’s emotions so as to create animosity between the people living peacefully in the border area of the two States.”

The boundary issue between the two States is still pending in the Supreme Court of India makes the issue sub-judice where the likes of MLA Kurmi have no business to involve themselves in except to further his vested personal interests, it further alleged.

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The statement said nobody has the right or power to dictate and instigate and create skirmishes in the border areas, adding that neutral forces (such as the CRPF) have been stationed there to maintain peace and tranquility based on the ‘Interim Agreement’ of 1979 between the two States.

The UNTABA said news agencies of print, electronic and visual media based in Assam “need to immediately stop the biased, fictitious and vested interest news reporting and issue necessary corrigendum otherwise it will invite legal courses of action.”

The Association further demanded an immediate investigation on the “high-handed actions” of Rupjyoti Kurmi and affix appropriate responsibility so as to prevent such “unwarranted incidents.”

It also called on the Government of Nagaland to immediately initiate appropriate steps to review the ‘Interim Agreement’ of 1979 between the two States on the boundary issue.

Assam Congress MLA Rupjyoti Kurmi, along with several others, were reportedly attacked by suspected land encroachers from Nagaland on May 27 when the legislator went to the Dissoi Valley Reserve Forest under Mariani Range in Jorhat district to take stock of the land dispute between Assam and Nagaland.

A video of the incident has since gone viral. The video shows Kurmi and others running for cover as shots were fired.

Kurmi later claimed that he was fired upon by Naga villagers who had been handed weapons in the contested territories.

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