Veteran BJP leader AL Heck on Tuesday slammed the Meghalaya and Assam governments for signing the fragmented border agreement amid opposition from all quarters. Assam and Meghalaya today signed an agreement to resolve their five-decade-old border dispute in six of the 12 locations, with Union Home Minister Amit Shah calling it a “historic day” for the Northeast. The agreement was signed in the presence of Shah and the Chief Ministers of Assam and Meghalaya were Himanta Bishwa Sharma and Conrad Sangma respectively.
“My concern from the outset is that when you want to resolve a border dispute, you have to resolve it in a completely disputed area for the benefit of the people living in the border area and for the benefit of the state,” Heck said.
Commenting on the protests in several villages like Malchapara, he said, “I can’t say what will happen in the future. If my concern is to solve it, it must be solved once and for all. “
“Before making any decision, they have to get the consent of the people living in the border area. The key stakeholders living in the border areas must first get their consent. “
The veteran BJP leader also questioned the need for the government to address the concerns of the people as this has led to tensions in many villages across the border. “I cannot say what the understanding is between the government of Meghalaya and Assam but my point is that the people must be taken into confidence,” he added.
The agreement will resolve long-running disputes in six of the 12 states along the 884.9-kilometer border. Shah said that through the signing of the agreement, 70 per cent of the border disputes between the two states have been resolved and hoped that a solution would be found soon for the remaining six positions.
Assam has 2743 km border with Manipur, Mizoram, Tripura, Meghalaya, Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland and West Bengal. It has border disputes with Nagaland, Mizoram, Meghalaya and Arunachal Pradesh. In July 2021, Kachar district of Assam witnessed a horrific armed clash between police personnel in Assam and Mizoram. Six Assam police personnel have been killed in armed clashes with their Mizoram counterparts, forcing the Center to intervene.
Tuesday’s agreement between Assam and Meghalaya aims to eliminate the possibility of any such violence in the border areas of the two states. There are 36 villages in six locations covering an area of 36.79 sq km, of which an agreement has been reached. The two states formed three committees in August last year to look into the border issue. The composition of the panels was after two rounds of talks between Sarma and Sangma where the neighboring states settled the dispute in stages.
According to the joint final recommendation of the committee, Assam will get full control of 18.51 sq km and Meghalaya 18.28 sq km out of the 36.79 sq km disputed area adopted for settlement in the first phase. Out of the 12 points of contention between Assam and Meghalaya, six regions with relatively less critical differences were taken in the first phase.
Meghalaya was carved out as a separate state from Assam in 1972 but the new state challenged the Assam Reorganization Act, 1971, which led to disputes over 12 border areas.
(With input from PTI)
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