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Another Meghalaya village comes under BDR fire

By Raju Das

SHILLONG, March 1 � Besides Muktapur, another Indian village Hawaitila came under heavy fire from Bangladesh Rifles (BDR) on Sunday forcing residents to flee their homes.

With Sunday�s exodus, 70- odd villagers from Hawaitila would now add to the list of homeless from Muktapur lodged in camps with little relief coming their way.

Villagers from Muktapur have been living in camps since February 4 after the village came under BDR attack.

Yesterday, trouble started a little past noon in Muktapur again after villagers started fishing in a disputed swamp.

BDR fired in the air which led to exchange of fire between the BSF and BDR. The firing spread to Hawaitila, a hamlet 3 kms east of Muktapur and both the force exchanged over 500 rounds for nearly four hours.

�This is our land and even if we have to face bullets we are ready. It�s been a month now we are without proper food and shelter,� Muktapur�s headman Manoj Mannar asserted.

Five schools in the area are providing shelter to the displaced villagers. The Meghalaya Government has sanctioned Rs 2 lakh for the displaced villagers as relief. The Jaintia Hills Deputy Commissioner is overseeing the relief work.

However, many see the relief as too little and too late. �Just once we were given 14 quintal rice and 70 kg dal and sugar by the district authorities for 2,000 people,� Mannar said.

Now with more villagers being pushed out of their homes the State Government has its work cut out.

The BSF, meanwhile, said the recent BSF-BDR stand-off is a �minor problem� and the situation is normal on the border. BSF-BDR held a flag meeting to diffuse the tension in the area.

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Another Meghalaya village comes under BDR fire

SHILLONG, March 1 � Besides Muktapur, another Indian village Hawaitila came under heavy fire from Bangladesh Rifles (BDR) on Sunday forcing residents to flee their homes.

With Sunday�s exodus, 70- odd villagers from Hawaitila would now add to the list of homeless from Muktapur lodged in camps with little relief coming their way.

Villagers from Muktapur have been living in camps since February 4 after the village came under BDR attack.

Yesterday, trouble started a little past noon in Muktapur again after villagers started fishing in a disputed swamp.

BDR fired in the air which led to exchange of fire between the BSF and BDR. The firing spread to Hawaitila, a hamlet 3 kms east of Muktapur and both the force exchanged over 500 rounds for nearly four hours.

�This is our land and even if we have to face bullets we are ready. It�s been a month now we are without proper food and shelter,� Muktapur�s headman Manoj Mannar asserted.

Five schools in the area are providing shelter to the displaced villagers. The Meghalaya Government has sanctioned Rs 2 lakh for the displaced villagers as relief. The Jaintia Hills Deputy Commissioner is overseeing the relief work.

However, many see the relief as too little and too late. �Just once we were given 14 quintal rice and 70 kg dal and sugar by the district authorities for 2,000 people,� Mannar said.

Now with more villagers being pushed out of their homes the State Government has its work cut out.

The BSF, meanwhile, said the recent BSF-BDR stand-off is a �minor problem� and the situation is normal on the border. BSF-BDR held a flag meeting to diffuse the tension in the area.

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