Assam-Nagaland border villagers demand solution to border dispute

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Udaipur Notun Gaon, Mariani (Assam), Apr 8 (ANI): As general elections draw closer, the border dispute between Assam and Nagaland has come to the fore again and has become a poll issue.

The border near Jorhat and Mokokchung has been on the boil for the past two decades.

Both the States have been periodically accusing each other of violating the agreement.

While Assam claims that its neighbour has encroached upon its land, Nagaland accuses Assam of setting up police outposts in several "disputed areas."

"We are living in the Nagajanka area, border of Assam and Nagaland. Our border region is the most neglected area. We are facing lot of problems and this time election is round the corner. We have decided that we will cast our votes to the leader who is committed in solving this border issue," said Rupna Sarwa, a resident of Nagajanka.

The All Assam Student Union (AASU) on April 4 organised a peaceful sit-in protest at Titabor town, against the encroachment on the Assam land by Nagaland during the election campaign.

Leaders of the Union criticised the Assam Government for not solving this issue. They also discussed matters pertaining to the solving of border dispute.

"The government in the past has failed to solve the long drawn Nagaland-Assam border dispute. We thought Assam Chief Minister would take important steps to solve this border dispute. Both the Central and State Governments are under Congress, they are doing nothing about it. We want answer from the government," said Nilofor Rehman, Assistant General Secretary, AASUentral Committee.

The first clash between Nagaland police and Assamese villagers residing at the Doyang forest reserve broke out in 1968. Similar incident took place at Rengma forest reserve of Karbi Anglong on January 5, 1979.

The worst clash occurred on June 4, 1985, when over 100 people died in firing between Assam and Nagaland police at Merapani.

The two sides later signed an interim agreement to maintain status quo along the border.

But the people continue to live under uncertainty and insecurity due to the periodic clashes. They have appealed to leaders to give a permanent solution to the dispute, so that people in both states co-exist peacefully and harmoniously in future. By Apam (ANI)

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