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HC judge should probe Lampi incident: PC

By Spl correspondent

NEW DELHI, May 31 � In a significant statement, Union Home Minister P Chidambaram said that probe into the recent ethnic clash at Lampi should be conducted by a sitting judge of Gauhati High Court.

Amidst reactions from Nepal over the incident in Lampi, the Union Home Minister said the Chief Justice of Gauhati High Court should be approached to have the Lampi incident probed by a sitting judge.

Union Home Secretary GK Pillai is also visiting Shillong next week on a two-day visit, when the issue is also expected to be discussed.

The Union Home Minister said that he has requested Chief Ministers of Assam and Meghalaya to sit together to resolve the border dispute between the two States.

On the Lampi border dispute incident, Chidamaram said it was an old dispute and both the States were trying to resolve it.

A division bench of the Gauhati High Court has already served a notice on the Assam Government on the Lampi firing incident in which four persons died and several others were injured.

Responding to a Public Interest Litigation filed by the Meghalaya People�s Human Rights Council (MPHRC), a two-judge bench comprising Chief Justice of the Gauhati High Court Ramesh Surajmal Garg and Justice BD Agarwal served the notice to the Assam Government.

Denying cover-up, Union Home Minister P Chidambaram today claimed that Central Bureau of Investigation and National Investigation Agency (NIA) are probing the North Cachar Hills financial scam.

He said both the agencies are investigating. While NIA is probing the terror links, the CBI is investigating the corruption part.

The Home Minister�s reply also clears the air over the status of the CBI investigation, as there was confusion over the top investigation agency taking over the case.

The scandal, popularly called Rs 1000-crore scam, had generated much political heat in the State rocking the Tarun Gogoi Government, as names of several ministers had figured

In the denial mode, Gogoi Government albeit reluctantly opted for a CBI probe.

Meanwhile, the Union Home Minister referred to his visits to the North-east including Assam and Mizoram on May 25 to review the security situation in those States.

In Mizoram, he said he met delegations of the Bru community and members of the District Councils of Mara, Lai and Chakma tribes. �I am glad to report that the return of Bru refugees from Tripura to Mizoram has commenced. So far, 263 families have returned,� he said.

The security situation in Manipur was a cause for concern. There was a stand-off between the NSCN (I-M) and the Government of Manipur on the request of Th Muivah to visit his ancestral village Somdal in Ukhrul district, Manipur.

Meanwhile, sources said that NSCN (I-M) general secretary is likely to return to Camp Hebron shortly from the Nagaland-Manipur border. Centre�s interlocutor RS Pandey, meanwhile, left for Nagaland this morning.

To ensure peace, five additional battalions of central paramilitary force were deployed. Services of IAF aircraft were made available for airlifting essential items to Manipur. National Highway - 53 was reopened for traffic on May 21, and there is now uninterrupted supply of goods to Manipur. However, the situation remains under constant watch, he said.

On border fencing along India-Bangladesh border, the Home Minister said 13 km of fencing and 16 km of road works were completed in May, under phase II of the project. 12 km of fencing was replaced under phase III of the project. Poles for floodlighting were erected on a stretch of 35 km during the month.

Work along the Indo-China border is also continuing with 2.04 km of formation works and 1.3 km of surfacing works being completed during May.

The Union Home Minister said the Centre has released the first instalment of Rs 88.66 crore for Border Area Development Programme (BADP) to the States of Tripura (Rs. 24.49 crore), Mizoram Rs 22.38 crore, Meghalaya (Rs. 11.22 crore) and West Bengal (Rs. 30.57 crore).

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