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Asian Tribune is published by World Institute For Asian Studies|Powered by WIAS Vol. 12 No. 2783

Dr Lotha blasts Assam for dishonoring 1972 Interim Agreement on Border

By Oken Jeet Sandham – Asian Tribune

Kohima, 12 December, ( The tension in the border areas between Nagaland and Assam is fast heightening as student activists in the Assam border side with the backing of the All Assam Students Union (ASSU) have been rushed to the border areas with flag posts to demarcate the border with Nagaland.

On hearing this, the several Lotha students led by leaders of the Lotha Students Union (LSU) with the support of the Naga Students Federation (NSF) late last night have been rushed down to Liphayan, near Governor’s Camp under Wokha district, bordering Assam, to thwart any attempt by their counterpart to place any flag posts for "demarcation" with Nagaland.

This sudden development in the border areas might turn into "dangerous confrontation" and many feel apprehensive as it might be another "Merapani War" if authorities of both the States (Assam and Nagaland) do not swiftly intervene to assuage the heightened tension being fast built up in the border areas. This latest development in the border areas also assumes significance as officials of both the States have been attending the ongoing hearing on the border dispute under Local Commission on Border at the Police Guest House, Chumukedima.

In the hearing, the Assam side insisted the 1925 Border Demarcation to be as final border with Nagaland. But Nagaland has strongly opposed to it, saying it was done by the British for its “administrative convenience”.

"This so-called 1925 Border Demarcation was not for border demarcation but it was only a notification issued by the British just for their administrative convenience," Dr TM Lotha, Minister for Health and Family Welfare, told the Asian Tribune here today. "We can never accept this (1925 Notification) as an instrument for boundary demarcation between the two States (Nagaland and Assam."

The Minister also blasted the Assam Government for not honoring the 1972 Interim Agreement on Border. He said as per the agreement, both sides had to maintain “status quo” and to withdraw their police outposts from the Disputed Area Belt (DAB). But Assam Government instead of withdrawing their police outposts has rather increased the outposts, while Nagaland complied with it from the very beginning.

They have also established some about 150 villages in the DAB areas and occupied vast Reserved Forest areas. Besides this, the CRPF personnel supposed to be “neutral forces” to maintain law and order in the DAB areas have become tools for the Assam Government as they are placed under the command of an Assam IGP. These CRPF personnel have been harassing, killing, hindering the Nagas living in the border areas, while giving free hand to the Assamese people in the areas, Dr Lotha disclosed. “Therefore this Agreement (1972 Interim Agreement) is nothing but defective, one-sided and destructive”, he said.

The Minister also said at the Yangpha Village Gate, these CRPF personnel did not allow Nagas to carry even a single brick or other house construction materials, while giving the Assamese people “carte blanche” to do anything they liked. He also disclosed that the Assam side has constructed irrigation canal well inside Nagaland side even beyond DAB areas with the protection of the CRPF personnel.

The Minister reiterated that unless the people of both sides co-operate each other in finding solution to the border issues. Whatever commission that might be constituted to look into would not bring any tangible solution. “We are ready to negotiate with Assam basing on the historical facts”, he added.

- Asian Tribune -

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