Assam, Meghalaya CMs to meet Shah on inter-state border dispute

Guwahati/Shillong, Jan 19 (IANS) With recommendations of the ministerial committees, Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma and his Meghalaya counterpart Conrad K. Sangma are expected to meet Union Home minister Amit Shah on Thursday in a bid to resolve the six of the 12 inter-state border disputes.

Sarma and Sangma after the cabinet meetings of the two states told the media separately on Wednesday that they would apprise Shah about the recommendations of the ministerial committees and their perspectives about the inter-state border disputes between the two northeastern states.

Sarma on Tuesday held an all-party meeting and discussed the inter-state border disputes with the different political parties and organisations on the reports.

Sangma said in Shillong that the meeting with the Union Home minister would be held in Delhi on Thursday evening.

“The recommendations of the ministerial committees of Assam and Meghalaya would be placed before Shah for further action. The recommendations of the two states are more or less common,” the Meghalaya Chief Minister said.

He said: “Apart from historical facts, we have to consider the sentiments of the bordering people. We have to keep in mind the ethnic issue. Both the state governments also sincerely felt that one cannot force anyone to forcibly come to a particular state.”

The ministerial committees of the two states had visited 36 villages in six of the 12 disputed areas during the past four months.

Sangma said that the boundary demarcation would be conducted after the due procedure in Parliament.

“The officials of the Survey of India along with the officials of the two states have to undertake joint inspections before a possible Bill can be moved in the Parliament,” he said.

Meanwhile, the Assam Chief Minister said that a roadmap for amicable settlement has been prepared based on the recommendations of three regional (ministerial) committees with representatives from both the states.

On January 12, Assam and Meghalaya have in principle reached an agreement on border disputes on at least six of the 12 places.

Recently, the two states exchanged reports submitted by their respective regional (ministerial) committees.

The Opposition Congress in Assam has threatened to move court if Assam’s land is parted away with.

According to the Assam Chief Minister, of the 12 locations along Assam’s Cachar, Kamrup and Kamrup (metro) districts and Meghalaya’s West Khasi Hills, Ri-Bhoi and East Jaintia Hills districts, six disputed locations with lesser complications were taken up first.

To settle the border disputes, Assam and Meghalaya in August last year had formed various regional (ministerial) committees led by Ministers and officials of the two states to focus on five aspects — historical facts, ethnicity, administrative convenience, contiguity of the land, willingness and people’s sentiments.

Assam has border disputes with Nagaland, Arunachal Pradesh, Meghalaya and Mizoram.

Assam’s border dispute cases with Nagaland and Arunachal Pradesh are before the Supreme Court but there are no cases on the inter-state disputes with Meghalaya and Mizoram.

Recently, Assam and Nagaland had signed an agreement to remove state forces from the disputed locations.

Sarma recently discussed an out-of-court settlement of the boundary disputes with his Arunachal Pradesh counterpart Pema Khandu.

The worst-ever violence along the Assam-Mizoram border on July 26 last year left six Assam Police personnel dead and nearly 100 civilians and security personnel of the two neighbouring states injured.

The trouble between the states is due to conflicting interpretations of their territorial position. While Mizoram says the boundary line is the one laid down in the Bengal Eastern Frontier Regulation Act of 1875, Assam backs the 1933 demarcation.

The Chief Ministers of Assam and Mizoram met in New Delhi on November 26 last year in presence of the Union Home Minister and discussed the ways and means to resolve their border issues amicably.



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