Assam-Nagaland border violence: No immediate solution as Golaghat burns

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Army soldiers keep vigil in action following violent protests at Telgaram Numaligarh in tension-gripped Golaghat district in Assam. (PTI Photo)
The violence along the Assam-Nagaland border has so far claimed over a dozen lives. The age-old ethnic rivalry in this North-Eastern part of the country always ends in bloodshed and arson. The latest violence has left 10,000 people homeless forcing them to take shelter in relief camps.

What triggered the violence

• As per reports, protesters in Golaghat district of Assam were demanding release of two students suspected to have been abducted by Naga insurgents.

• On August 12, miscreants from Nagaland fired on agitators. Since then, the two sides have been at loggerheads.

• As per NDTV reports, a Central Government note says the Assam-Nagaland violence began as a land dispute between two men.

• The report says that an Assamese adivasi or tribal named Salamon Sama entered into agreement to cultivate a plot of land in the disputed area belt (DAB) along the border of the two states.

• He was to share the produce with the Nagaland man (Lotha) who allegedly owned the land.

• Later, Lotha attempted to construct a hut on the land and Sama complained about the same to the local authorities.

• Authorities decided that neither Lotha would build his hut, nor Sama would use the land. But Sama, continued to cultivate the land.

• The matter was almost sorted when two tribal boys went missing and Lotha was being held responsible for the same and the Adivasi National Liberation Army which is an insurgent group forced Lotha and some other people to go away from Golaghat.

• Later it was revealed that Naga insurgents shot dead one Advasi and injured two others on August 12.

• The All Advasi Students Association of Assam (AASAA) blocked the crucial National Highway 39 connecting Nagaland to Assam and shut down Golaghat.

• Since then, both sides are attacking each other, torching houses in villages.

• On August 12 and 13, Naga miscreants, aided by NSCN (IM) cadres, raided several border villages in Assam, killing 14 villagers and setting hundreds of houses on fire.

• The tension was further aggravated when the Assamese group refused to allow a Nagaland government official to pass through NH-39 on the Independence Day.

The history of Disturbed Area Belt

• The border dispute over the disputed Assam-Nagaland border belt, called the Disturbed Area Belt (DAB), between the two states is awaiting a solution from the Supreme Court after Assam filed a petition in 1988, seeking a settlement.

• The Assam government wants no change in the current border demarcation.

• But, Nagaland refuses to accept the same and instead wants to follow the historical boundary which was demarcated before the colonial rule.

• Since 1979, the disputed Assam-Nagaland border belt has been under the Union home ministry. To maintain the status quo central paramilitary forces patrol the area. The area at present is being guarded by the CRPF.

• Since 1979, the Centre has brought the Disputed Area Border under its control and posted Assam Rifles as a neutral force to maintain law and order on the border.

The blame game over violence

• After the controversy erupted it seems that the Centre and the state government have locked horns over the same and are trying to blame each other.

• Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi said, "The people of Assam have voted overwhelmingly for Modi in the election and now the people have to question him why they have been left in the lurch."

• "The border area is under the control of the central government. I don't have any control there. If I am given control, I can solve the problem," the CM said.

The current situation

• Minister of State for Home - Kiren Rijiju is scheduled to meet Assam CM Tarun Gogoi and Nagaland CM TR Zeliang to find a solution to the unabated violence.

• "We are monitoring the situation. I will be meeting both the CMs today. Central forces are working under the administrative control of the state. We should not indulge in blame game and should coordinate and try to solve this issue as soon as possible", said Rijiju.

• The Army conducted its first flag march in the region this morning.

• The curfew is limited to the Golaghat police station area.

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