Diphu: As many as 42 representatives of various political and non-political groups of Karbi Anglong have strongly opposed the state government’s move of the transfer of Block I and Block II of West Karbi Anglong district to Meghalaya under its ‘give-and-take’ policy for the settlement of border dispute between the two states.
A meeting was organised on Thursday by the Joint Coordination Committee for Protection of Autonomy (JCCPA), which was jointly presided over by its convenors Saising Rongpi and Khorsing Teron.
Addressing the meeting, former Cabinet Minister Holiram Terang said, “I do not justify the claim of Meghalaya. If Meghalaya can claim those areas which are inhabited by Khasis, then should we also claim the area in Meghalaya where Karbis are living? This is not the solution to the border dispute. It should be based on facts and documents.”
“The inter-state boundary dispute should be resolved through the 1951 notification of the Assam government,” Terang added.
He said the original boundary line – Saisima – is now far from the present boundary as all pillars have been shifted by the people from the Meghalaya side because the Assam government has no control over the border areas.
The JCCPA has also demanded Chief Executive Member Tuliram Ronghang to convene a special session of the Karbi Anglong Autonomous Council (KAAC) to oppose Assam’s move to transfer Block I and Block II under the second phase of chief minister-level talks between Himanta Biswa Sarma and Meghalaya Chief Minister Conrad Sangma.
The speakers blamed the Assam government for its lackadaisical attitude towards the development of border areas, due to which the neighbouring states have grabbed land in border areas and developed infrastructure like roads and electricity, among others.
Robi Kumar Phangcho of the Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist) and Secretary of the Hills Party Committee said, “The boundary between the two states was demarcated in 1951. But the government is now making it a political issue. If the government fails to protect our border, the public should have the right to protest.”
“When the Autonomous State Demand Committee (ASDC) was in power in Karbi Anglong, we spent 10 percent of the budget for the development of the border. Now the government is not spending a single penny on its development. The area we developed at that time and the roads that were built are now under the possession of Meghalaya,” Phangso said.
Humsing Bey, former executive member of the KAAC, said, “We need need to send a strong message to both state governments of Assam and Meghalaya opposing the ‘give-and-take’ policy. We should not compromise on the boundary issue.”
During the meeting, it was decided that Karbi Anglong should stick to the boundaries notified in 1951. It also stated that the claim of transfer of certain areas of West Karbi Anglong to Meghalaya is an unnecessary issue, as all matters concerning the boundary between the United Khasi-Jaintia Hills district and the Mikir Hills Autonomous district (now Karbi Anglong) had been resolved by mutual consent on based on the report of the commission constituted by the 1950 notification, when the boundaries of Mikir Hills were notified.
“The meeting also resolved that a joint delegation of all parties and organisations and leading citizens should be deputed to submit a memorandum to the Chief Executive Member with the appeal to convene an all-party meeting and a special session of the KAAC to discuss the matter and adopt a resolution against any move of the state government to transfer area(s) that fall right within the notified boundaries of Karbi Anglong (bifurcated in 2016),” the resolution stated.
A joint delegation should also be deputed to submit a memorandum to the chief minister urging him not to include Block I and II, Khanduli and Pesiar in the process of the ‘give-and-take’ policy.
The meeting also resolved to chalk out an agitation programme for the formation of strong public opinion against the ‘give-and-take’ policy in respect of the border along Meghalaya and West Karbi Anglong.
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