Troubled Borders: Solution continues to evade Assam

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Border pillars, demarcating the 512 km long boundary between Assam-Nagaland, were allegedly removed
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GUWAHATI: Assam finds itself in a ‘troubled’ position with border disputes with some of the neighbouring states growing ‘bitter’.

After prolonged border turmoil with Mizoram for over a month, Assam now has the new headache of taking care of its Nagaland front.

While on the Mizoram front, Assam government has itself claimed that Mizo encroachers had already come inside Assam’s territory, officials alleged that border pillars, demarcating the 512 km long boundary between Assam-Nagaland, were removed by Naga encroachers recently.

“The interstate disputes are not new and that’s why the state government has asked the Centre to step in and solve the matter for good. Since India is a federal structure, such matters need to be handled by the Centre. Positive steps are already undertaken and we are expecting desired results by next year,” said an official source.

In 1988, Assam filed a title suit in the Supreme Court seeking identification of the boundary between Assam and Nagaland to resolve the border dispute by a permanent injunction restraining Nagaland from encroaching on Assam’s territory and handing over of encroached areas. The matter is at the trial stage.

On November 20, it’s expected that Assam chief minister Sarbananda Sonowal is likely to raise the issue once again before the union home minister Amit Shah in a meeting. Shah and Prime Minister Narendra Modi had to personally intervene in resolving the Assam-Mizoram border rows recently.

Sonowal, state’s finance minister Himanta Biswa Sarma who is also the convenor of North East Democratic Alliance (NEDA) and state BJP chief Ranjeet Dass are scheduled to meet Shah on Saturday for a party meeting on ensuing polls in the state.

Earlier state government sources said that the possible process on the interstate border disputes would only begin after the formation of the new government in Assam next year.

“Since the term of the current Assam government is ending shortly, the talks have to be with the new government. Maintaining peace and harmony is the prime focus currently,” home ministry sources added.

Meanwhile, Assam decided to beef up its vigilance along the Assam-Mizoram borders after a fact-finding team led by Deputy Commissioner, Cachar, Keerthi Jalli trudged along deep inside the Aitlang Khal area along the Assam- Mizoram border to take stock of the situation on Tuesday.

During the 25 km hike, the officials found evidence of frequent movements of Mizo encroachers in the forest areas.

On Monday night, a truck driver from Goalpara in Assam was assaulted by five youths near Lalthanzauva Filling station, Phunchawng, Aizawl.

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