Gorkhas elated as Assam decides against their prosecution under Citizenship Act

Express News Service

GUWAHATI: Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma on Friday disclosed that the state’s boundary dispute with Arunachal Pradesh was at 1,200 places.

“Our informal talks on the boundary issue have started with the Arunachal government. We have 12 areas of differences with Meghalaya but the dispute with Arunachal is at 1,200 places,” Sarma told the Assembly.

“But as we (both states) have matured now, we know who and which communities are living where. We will try to solve the problem,” the CM said.

There was a clear delineation of the boundary when Uttarakhand and Jharkhand were created as states. However, when Mizoram, Arunachal, and Nagaland were created, it was left to certain situations and the ambiguity remained, leading to the disputes, he said.

Cases pertaining to Assam’s boundary dispute with Nagaland and Arunachal are pending in the Supreme Court. Sarma said resolving the dispute with Nagaland would be very difficult.

“It cannot be resolved at the government level. We will move forward as directed by the Supreme Court. But both states have an understanding of the maintenance of the status quo. We will not encroach upon each other’s territory,” the CM said.

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Talking about Assam’s border dispute with Meghalaya, he said the two states did not have any historical or constitutional clash.

“There are 12 points of differences and we will first try to resolve the dispute in six areas. The dispute there is over one-two small villages. The people cast their votes in both states. If they have their houses in Meghalaya, they have their agricultural fields in Assam and they cannot say in which state they will remain,” Sarma said.

The two states have already decided to constitute three regional committees each, headed by a Cabinet minister. They will lay focus on historical facts, ethnicity, administrative convenience, the willingness of the people, and their overall sense of sentiments and contiguity of the land which falls under the areas of differences while trying to solve the problem.

Sarma gave a historical perspective of the Mizoram boundary with Assam.

“In 1870, the British administration had given the forest (now a reserve forest) to the Lushai Hills (present-day Mizoram). The forest was bifurcated in 1932 with one portion going to Assam and the other to Mizoram…

“When Mizoram was made a Union Territory in 1972, it was decided that the 1932 boundary will be its boundary. During the (signing of) Mizo peace accord, that very boundary was agreed to be made Mizoram’s boundary. Based on this boundary, Mizoram has created a state in 1987,” Sarma explained.