Guwahati: ‘World Environment Day’ celebrations turned horrific at the Assam-Arunachal Pradesh border as two persons died and three others went missing after alleged firing along the Arunachal Pradesh border in Assam’s Dhemaji district on Monday, police said.

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According to reports, the deceased, identified as Boga Chutia from Dhemaji, was part of a group that was planting saplings in the bordering area to commemorate ‘World Environment Day’ when they came under fire from miscreants. Two others, identified as Pushp Gogoi and Manitur Gogoi, were rushed to the hospital in a critical state.

Three others went missing and police were looking for them, Superintendent of Police (SP) Ranjan Bhuyan said. “Our team rushed to the spot on receiving the information. We are investigating the incident,” he said.

Condemning the incident, locals, including the leader of an influential student body, have urged the governments to fast-track border talks for an amicable solution.

Locals alleged the involvement of miscreants from Arunachal Pradesh as there was a dispute over the inter-state boundary in the area.

Assam Jatiya Yuba Chhatra Parishad (AJYCP) leader Ratul Borgohain said that “tensions have been running high near the border at Panbari in Jairampur.”

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“Despite several complaints, the district administration has failed to take any concrete steps. It appears that today’s incident occurred due to the district administration’s ineptitude. We call on the district administration and Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma to resolve the issue after consulting with locals,” he stated, adding, “If Arunachal Pradesh Chief Minister Pema Khandu wishes to maintain cordial relations with us, he must identify the wrongdoers and punish them as per law.”

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When asked about the incident, Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said that an investigation will be launched by the district administration and police.

“We have not been able to demarcate the boundary to date. Usually, these attacks are not carried out by neighbouring states. They are instead carried out by civilians over land disputes. The police will launch an investigation into this, and take action accordingly. The details of the case, such as the background, will be revealed during the investigation,” said Sarma.

Assam and Arunachal Pradesh share an 804-km-long border, and both sides have been engaging in discussions to resolve the boundary disputes.

An MoU was signed by Assam CM Himanta Biswa Sarma and Arunachal CM Pema Khandu on April 20 in New Delhi, in the presence of Union Home Minister Amit Shah, to resolve the border row.

In July last year, the two chief ministers signed the Namsai Declaration setting in motion the efforts to solve the boundary

Arunachal Pradesh, which was made a Union Territory in 1972, claims that several forested tracts in the plains that had traditionally belonged to the hill tribal chiefs and communities were unilaterally transferred to Assam.

After Arunachal Pradesh achieved statehood in 1987, a tripartite committee was appointed which recommended that certain territories be transferred from Assam to Arunachal Pradesh. Assam contested this and the matter has been in the Supreme Court.

Also Read | Guwahati cyclists participate in cycle ride, plant trees on World Environment Day

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