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Assam-Meghalaya border dispute:

GS Paper 3:

Topics Covered: Internal security related issues.

 

Context:

Home Minister Amit Shah is expected to seal the final agreement to end the dispute in six areas of the Assam-Meghalaya boundary ahead of Meghalaya’s 50th Statehood Day celebration on January 21.

 

What’s the dispute?

Assam and Meghalaya share an 885-km-long border. Meghalaya was carved out of Assam under the Assam Reorganisation Act, 1971, a law that it challenged, leading to disputes.

  • As of now, there are 12 points of dispute along their borders. These include the areas of Upper Tarabari, Gazang reserve forest, Hahim, Langpih, Borduar, Boklapara, Nongwah, Matamur, Khanapara-Pilangkata, Deshdemoreah Block I and Block II, Khanduli and Retacherra.

 

Langpih:

A major point of contention between Assam and Meghalaya is the district of Langpih in West Garo Hills bordering the Kamrup district of Assam.

  • Langpih was part of the Kamrup district during the British colonial period but post-Independence, it became part of the Garo Hills and Meghalaya.
  • Assam considers it to be part of the Mikir Hills in Assam. Meghalaya has questioned Blocks I and II of the Mikir Hills -now Karbi Anglong region – being part of Assam. Meghalaya says these were parts of erstwhile United Khasi and Jaintia Hills districts.

 

Efforts to solve the dispute:

  • Both Assam and Meghalaya have constituted border dispute settlement committees.
  • Recently, Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma and his Meghalaya counterpart Conrad Sangma decided to set up two regional committees to resolve the border disputes in a phased manner.
  • Sarma recently said five aspects were to be considered in resolving the border dispute. They are historical facts, ethnicity, administrative convenience, mood and sentiments of the people concerned and the contiguity of the land.

 

Assam and border issues:

  • The states of the Northeast were largely carved out of Assam, which has border disputes with several states. Assam’s border disputes with Arunachal Pradesh and Nagaland are pending in the Supreme Court.
  • Assam’s border disputes with Meghalaya and Mizoram are currently in the phase of resolution through negotiations. The border dispute with Mizoram recently turned violent, leading to intervention from the Centre.

Sources: Indian Express.