Shillong: In a Special Motion moved by several Congress Legislators on Thursday over the inter-state border dispute between Meghalaya and Assam, the Opposition declared that ‘not an inch of our land should be given to Assam’.
The motion was moved jointly by Congress MLAs Mayralborn Syiem, HM Shangpliang, Kimfa Marbaniang and Ampareen Lyngdoh. They said several legislators have expressed disagreement with the idea of ‘give and take’.
Nongpoh MLA Mayralborn Syiem said besides the 12 areas of difference, there are several disputed areas that go unnoticed. He said a lot of encroachment has also happened that requires the attention of the government.
Syiem added that in the past, the two sides had maintained status quo and allowed development works to continue. However, Assam has resisted developmental work, he alleged.
“They have harassed citizens settled in border areas,” he alleged.
According to their motion, between 2009-2021, there have been at least 114 incidents in border areas wherein people of the state were harassed and felt insecure. He said people living in border areas are living in fear.
MLA HM Shangpliang said the ongoing talks between the two CMs are a result of meetings being held from time to time. The present talks are to be viewed in the context of past discussions and decisions.
He suggested that a joint inspection by district-level functionaries once every month or or at least two months should be conducted to identify if there has been any new settlement or encroachment.
Echoing MLA Syiem, Shangpliang asked the government about the idea of give and take. “What is the Meghalaya government giving away to Assam and what is it taking from Assam?” he asked.
He reiterated that not an inch of land should be given to Assam, and that there is nothing the state can give to Assam. “Rather, the state should take away all its own land that is ethnically and culturally dominated by the people of the state which are in Assam,” he added.
MLA Kimfa Marbaniang said the people living in the border areas are in a dilemma. “They don’t know whether they belong to Assam or Meghalaya. The district administration has even asked the people to surrender their voter ID cards for unknown reasons,” the MLA claimed.
MLA George Lyngdoh sought a clarification from the government on the recent comment by the Assam CM that there was no dispute of land with Meghalaya and that it was Meghalaya who is claiming land belonging to Assam.
Responding to the special motion, Chief Minister Conrad K Sangma said just like Meghalaya, Assam also has its own documents to show. “Only the court can decide We may need to look at things from different angle; look at ethnicity, what things were before and now needs to be looked at. Desire of the people… this factor also needs to be looked at,” said Sangma.
Concerning the Assam CM’s statement, Sangma said that he can’t comment on why the CM said that. “But presuming since most states were carved out of Assam, he may be saying it from that perspective,” Sangma added.
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