Assam border row: Nagaland for out-of-court settlement

Nagaland wants out-of-court settlement for border disputes with Assam

The resolution also urged the Union Ministry of Home Affairs to ensure that the status quo is maintained in the disputed area till a settlement is reached

Nagaland Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio. Credit: Twitter/@Neiphiu_Rio

Nagaland Assembly on Thursday adopted a resolution that called for an amicable settlement of the inter-state border issue with Assam outside the court and with the involvement of the local communities from both the states. 

The resolution also urged the Union Ministry of Home Affairs to ensure that the status quo is maintained in the disputed area till a settlement is reached. 

It also decided to form a select committee of the Assembly with Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio as convenor and Deputy Chief Minister Y Patton and leader of the Opposition, TR Zeliang as co-convenors.  The select committee would examine all aspects of the Assam-Nagaland border issue and submit its report within three months.

The resolution comes days after Assam and Nagaland signed an MoU and withdrew their police forces from Dissoi Valley forest, one of the disputed areas between the two states. Assam and Nagaland share 512-km inter-state border but the disputes resulted in violent conflicts several times. 

A petition is pending in the Supreme Court regarding the dispute and central forces are deployed in the border from Jorhat in eastern Assam to Dimapur in Nagaland. Nagaland was carved out of Assam as a new state in 1963. 

Nagaland Assembly held the discussion on the border issue and adopted the resolutions days after a gunbattle took place between the police forces of Assam and Mizoram on July 26. The firing on the border between Lailapur in Assam's Cachar district and Vairengte in Mizoram's Kolasib district killed six Assam policemen, a civilian, and injured another 41. 

Taking part in the discussion, Zeliang said the boundary dispute has created unrest for the people of both states. He said that despite such conflict and turmoil, even the Supreme Court has not been able to finalise the boundary issue which he felt was due to the complexity of the matter.

Chief Minister Rio said the people of Nagaland should unite and take a common stand on the issue stating that the agreement between the two states should be without any pre-conditions.