Boko: Congress will raise the concerns of residents of Lumpi, a village on the Assam-Meghalaya border, in the Assembly during the autumn session, said Congress MLA and leader of opposition in the Assam Legislative Assembly Debabrata Saikia.
Saikia, with Assam Congress president Rana Goswami and Boko MLA Nandita Das, visited the Lumpi area along the Assam- Meghalaya border along with other Congress leaders.
“We will raise the issue of the Lumpi sector in the assembly session. We will represent the people. They do not wish to stay with Meghalaya. There is a constitutional rule for resolving border disputes. There are border disputes between Punjab and Haryana and Tamil Nadu and Karnataka. But none of them wants to settle the disputes like our Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma,” Saikia said.
Saikia added, “There is protest everywhere. Even ruling party MLA Dr Amyio Kumar Bhuyan and MP Topon Kumar Gogoi protested against it. We have reasons to believe that our border is not protected under the leadership of Himanta Biswa Sarma.”
“The border between the two states was settled in 1971. In 1985, the Chandrasur Commission also rejected Meghalaya’s claim on Lumpi. So, there is no question of re-settlement,” he said.
“We visited the area and interacted with the residents. They are not ready to stay with Meghalaya. They opt to stay with Assam,” said Rana Goswami, working president, Assam Congress.
“The people are afraid of the situation here. The Assam government is trying to settle the dispute without following constitutional rules,” Goswami claimed.
Lumpi is one of the six areas of dispute between Assam and Meghalaya. The two states have been claiming ownership of the village for more than half a century.
When the British annexed Assam, the village was clubbed with the Kamrup district for administrative purposes. But when India achieved independence, the village was tagged with the West Garo Hills district (in present-day Meghalaya) after it was carved out of Assam in 1972.
The conflict over Lumpi can be traced back to 1974 when the Meghalaya police forcefully evicted people from the Gorkha community from their homes and grazing land. The Gorkha, who were mostly engaged in animal husbandry, approached the Assam Police for justice.
The situation worsened after May 14, 2010, when clashes broke out between the Nepali, Khasi and Garo communities. Assam Police fired upon the people, wherein four Khasi people were killed and at least 18 others were injured.
The Union government has tried to solve the dispute through several consultations but to no avail. Since 2016, the issue has been raised time and again in the Legislative Assembly of Assam, but both states have so far failed to resolve it.
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