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What is the Assam Meghalaya Border dispute?

  • Published
    24th Nov, 2022
Context

Recently, six people, including an Assam Forest Guard, were killed during an alleged clash between the Assam Police and a mob from Meghalaya in area between the West Karbi Anglong district of Assam and Mukroh village in Meghalaya’s West Jaintia Hills.

About

The Assam Megalaya Border dispute:

  • During the British rule, undivided Assam included present-day Nagaland, Arunachal Pradesh, Meghalaya and Mizoram.
  • Meghalaya was carved out in 1972 and their boundary demarcated as per the Assam Reorganisation (Meghalaya) Act of 1969, but has held a different interpretation of the border since then.
  • In 2011, the Meghalaya government had identified 12 areas of difference with Assam, spread over approximately 2,700 sq. km of area.
  • Assam and Meghalaya have a longstanding dispute in 12 stretches of their 884-km shared border.
  • The two states had signed a pact in March 2011, resolving the dispute in six out of 12 areas. To solve the issue, they decided to form regional committees.
  • The Assam-Meghalaya pact was seen as a major achievement.
  • A final set of recommendations were made jointly: out of 79 sq. km of disputed area taken up for settlement in the first phase.
  • But, there still exists the area under tension between both the states.

The Disputed region:

  • There are six disputed sectors including Tarabari, Gizang, Hahim, Boklapara, Khanapara-Pillangkata, and Ratacherra under the Kamrup, Kamrup (Metro), and Cachar districts of Assam and the West Khasi Hills, Ri-Bhoi and East Jaintia Hills districts of Meghalaya.
  • 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.
  • Both Assam and Meghalaya have constituted border dispute settlement committees.
  • They are historical facts, ethnicity, administrative convenience, mood and sentiments of the people concerned, and the contiguity of the land.
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