Kohima: Despite the de-escalation of the border tension along the Nagaland-Assam border, following an agreement signed between the two states on July 31, Nagaland‘s opposition party Naga People’s Front (NPF) said that the state government is “complacent” with its attitude in handling the border dispute.
During a discussion on the border issue at the ongoing session of the state Assembly, NPF MLA Dr Chumben Murry commented that the government is complacent towards border issue despite its efforts in defusing the border issue.
Although he acknowledged Nagaland home minister Y Patton for taking the initiative to defuse the border tension, Murry, who is also the NPF legislature party secretary, said it was not enough.
Murry suggested that a rapport should be built and a mutual understanding must be created between the two states.
Highlighting that the state’s border affairs department has not been given its due importance, he suggested that the department must be expanded with even more flexibility.
Leader of the opposition TR Zeliang also warned the state government to be “careful” in handling the border issue.
Recalling the 1972 agreement between the governments of Nagaland and Assam where it was agreed for neutral forces to be deployed to monitor the areas along the border, the former chief minister and leader of NPF legislature party said that such an agreement had given Assam an “upper hand”.
According to him, these neutral forces were deployed under the supervision of officers from Assam police. Such being the case, he said that Nagaland becomes “handicapped” and so urged the state government not to repeat “past mistakes”.
Zeliang urged the state government to be “careful” in handling the border issue and ensure that such mistakes are not repeated.
Meanwhile, in response to the opposition party, Nagaland chief minister Neiphiu Rio said that the border tension should be settled amicably and that both states must live in peaceful co-existence.
According to Zeliang, during a recent meeting in Shillong, Union home minister Amit Shah had urged the CMs to resolve the inter-state border issue before the 100 days’ celebration of the Indian Independence Day.
With the Centre being aware of the inter-state border issues—including that of Nagaland-Assam border, he hoped that with the ministry’s intervention, the issue will be resolved.
He revealed that ahead of signing the agreement between the two states on July 31 to withdraw forces along the border in both sides, a telephonic conversation was held with Assam chief minister Himanta Biswa Sharma to discuss at “length” on how to diffuse the tension and maintain peace along the border. He expressed contentment on the border tension that has de-escalated and forces being withdrawn.
Rio said that to monitor the disputed areas, satellite mapping will be used to check whether the agreed situation is followed or not, to ensure that there are “no fresh entries” and “no fresh activities” along the border from both sides.
As the Nagaland-Assam border issue is sub judice in the Supreme Court, he said the court pointed towards mediation which is not terminated yet. The CM said that there is “no harm” even if there are Nagaland villages are settled in Assam or vice versa.
He said that the foothill road, which will be bring a demarcation, along the disputed area is yet to receive a sanction. However, he maintained that the centre is sensitive and aware about the border issue. Further, he said that more discussions on the Nagaland-Assam border issue is required.
As reported earlier, on July 31, an agreement was signed by the chief secretaries of Nagaland and Assam to de-escalate the border stand-off at Dessoi Valley Reserved Forest and Tsurangkong valley, the two states have agreed to monitor the disputed border areas with unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) and satellite imagery to maintain status quo.
The agreement was signed between the two states by Nagaland chief secretary J Alam and Assam chief secretary Jishnu Barua at Chumukedima Police House, in the presence of Nagalanad deputy chief minister and home minister Y Patton and Assam education minister Ranoj Pegu.
Both the states agreed that the Superintendents of Police of the districts of Mokokchung in Nagaland and Jorhat in Assam will ensure orderly withdrawal of the respective forces and be responsible for it in the instant case.
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