Guwahati, May 24: A second round of discussions between Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma and Meghalaya Chief Minister Conrad Sangma has been set to address the ongoing border dispute in six remaining areas.
As a gesture of goodwill, both chief ministers will also visit the disputed regions. The decision comes after the successful signing of a memorandum of understanding (MoU) in March last year, following the initial round of talks, which took place in Delhi and was witnessed by Union Home Minister Amit Shah.
Assam and Meghalaya have been engaged in a longstanding border conflict, with 12 disputed areas spanning a border that stretches 884.9 kilometers. The creation of Meghalaya as a separate state in 1972 led to challenges against the Assam Reorganisation Act of 1971, which Assam recognizes as its official border.
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Tensions escalated in November last year when a clash between Assam Police and a mob near the West Karbi Anglong district of Assam and Mukroh village in Meghalaya’s West Jaintia Hills resulted in the unfortunate deaths of six individuals, including an Assam Forest Guard.
The Assam Police claimed that they resorted to firing in self-defense as they were surrounded by a hostile mob while attempting to intercept a truck allegedly involved in timber smuggling. Five of the deceased individuals were from Meghalaya.
In addition to the border dispute with Meghalaya, Assam has also sent a proposal to the Nagaland government concerning oil exploration along their disputed boundary. The Nagaland government had initially sought Assam’s views on the matter. Assam has now eagerly awaited Nagaland’s response to proceed further.
In April, Himanta Sarma and Nagaland Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio reached a preliminary agreement to pursue oil exploration in disputed areas along their boundary, aiming to benefit both states economically.
The governments of Assam and Nagaland have been actively exploring various options to amicably resolve their long-standing border conflicts. Discussions have focused on establishing an MoU for oil exploration, allowing for oil extraction and the equitable sharing of royalties between the states.
The border dispute between Assam and Nagaland dates back to the creation of Nagaland in 1963 and is currently pending before the Supreme Court for a final resolution. With a 512.1-kilometer shared border, both states are determined to find a lasting solution to this prolonged issue.
The second round of talks between Himanta Sarma and Conrad Sangma holds the promise of bringing much-needed progress in resolving the border disputes between Assam and Meghalaya. As they work towards a peaceful resolution, it is hoped that a mutually acceptable agreement will be reached, fostering harmony and cooperation between the two neighboring states.