Boundary conflicts in Northeast killed 157 since 1979

Inter-state boundary conflicts in Northeast killed 157 since 1979: Rights group report says

The report said such conflicts also resulted in the displacement of 65,729 persons from 1979 to July 2021

Representative image. Credit: iStock Photo

The inter-state border conflicts in the Northeast resulted in the death of at least 157 persons and left 361 others injured since 1979, says a report released by Rights and Risk Analysis Group (RRAG), a New Delhi-based think tank.

The report, Border Disputes in the Northeast: The Raging War Within, released on Tuesday said the clashes on the boundary took place between Assam on one hand and Nagaland, Meghalaya, Mizoram and Arunachal Pradesh on the other. Nagaland (1963), Mizoram (1987) and Meghalaya (1972) were carved out of Assam as separate states while Arunachal Pradesh, which was earlier called North East Frontier Agency was made a full-fledged state in 1987.

The report said such conflicts also resulted in the displacement of 65,729 persons from 1979 to July 2021.

Out of the 157 reported deaths, the maximum number of casualties took place in the Assam-Nagaland border dispute with 136 deaths, followed by the Assam-Arunachal Pradesh dispute with 10 deaths, the Assam-Mizoram border dispute with 7 deaths, and the Assam-Meghalaya border dispute with 4 deaths.

The report was released at a time when the decades-long boundary disputes between Assam and Mizoram led to the killing of seven Assam policemen, a civilian and caused injuries to 41 others in a gunfight on July 26. The firing between police forces of the two states took place in a forest land between Lailapur in South Assam's Cachar district and Vairengte in Mizoram's Kolasib district. Both the states claim the forest as their own.

"The states usually approach the Supreme Court to resolve the disputes but the demarcation of boundaries is an executive task. Therefore, the Supreme Court usually recommended the formation of boundary commissions. However, if any of the States does not accept the recommendations of the boundary commissions including those appointed by the Supreme Court, little progress can be made,” Suhas Chakma of RRAG said in his letter to Union Home Minister Amit Shah and Chief Ministers of Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, Meghalaya, Mizoram and Nagaland. 

The report said the recommendations of the boundary commissions have been consistently rejected. On the Assam-Meghalaya border dispute, Meghalaya had rejected the recommendations of Justice YV Chadrachud Committee which had awarded Langpih to Assam while Assam had accepted the recommendations. But, Assam itself had rejected the recommendations of the three-member boundary commission appointed by the Supreme Court on the Assam-Arunachal Pradesh border dispute which in its 2014 report recommended the transfer of around 70-80 per cent of the disputed land to Arunachal Pradesh. The Centre had also constituted two boundary commissions: Sundaram Commission (1971) and the Shastri Commission (1985) to settle the Assam-Nagaland border disputes but both the states rejected the recommendations of both the committees. 

"The victims are citizens of India and the increasing human toll warrants permanent peacebuilding measures," Chakma said.