GUWAHATI: A poster saying “trespassers will be shot” put up by the Indian Air Force (IAF) on the outer wall of its installation in Shillong is allegedly terrorising local residents so much so the state’s Urban Affairs Minister Hamlet Dohling has petitioned the IAF authorities seeking its immediate removal.
Dohling wrote to Air Officer Commanding-in-Chief of Eastern Air Command, Air Marshal RD Mathur, stating that the “threatening” poster was uncalled for as it was creating a fear psychosis among local residents.
The minister said it was meaningless to put up the poster at the site as there had been no trespassing into the IAF premises. He requested the IAF authorities to immediately remove the poster. At the same time, he reminded them of the bonhomie which the locals shared with defence forces.
Last week, the Shillong-based Federation of Khasi Jaintia Garo People (FKJGP) had petitioned the East Khasi Hills district administration seeking its intervention in the matter. It alleged that the IAF’s threat to shoot trespassers had triggered panic among residents who, otherwise, had no ill-will against the IAF.
The FKJGP urged the district magistrate to allay the fear of people by taking up the matter with the IAF.
The IAF, however, denied it was a threat poster. “It is not a threat or something like that. It is a warning and information only to prevent trespassing. These signboards are as per existing guidelines and displayed outside all Air Force installations and without any prejudice to any particular region or state,” Shillong-based defence spokesman Wing Commander Ratnakar Singh told this newspaper.
He said the IAF had sensitised the village heads of the locality and sent prior intimation to the police.