Shillong: While traditional heads from border areas have urged the state government to revisit the MoU signed between Assam and Meghalaya governments regarding the six areas of dispute, the Meghalaya chief minister on Tuesday made it clear that the question of revisiting doesn’t arise since it is signed before the Government of India.
Chief Minister Conrad K. Sangma said in 2011 a report was submitted by the then state government with the areas and villages that were disputed. He said they worked on that report and asked for those areas – out of 23 villages, 21 have come to Meghalaya and two have gone to Assam.
“The other areas which are now saying that we should change and bring those areas also into Meghalaya were never in the 2011 report,” said Sangma.
He added that for Meghalaya to now add more villages (over and above their list of villages which came out in 2011) is not possible because they never asked for it in 2011 and, therefore, the question of bringing it doesn’t arise now.
Sangma stated that it would be very difficult for them to convince Assam why they are adding more villages to the list.
“There are a lot of villages that are saying that they would like to come now (to Meghalaya) but in the 2011 report those villages were never included in the disputed area and the government of Meghalaya had clearly mentioned that those villages are in Assam. So today those villages that are asking us to include them… today it’s difficult because they were never put in the report,” Sangma clarified.
Concerning Malangkona, another village on the Assam-Meghalaya border, Sangma said that areas that were in the map over which the particular line was drawn… all of it has come to Meghalaya.
“The villages that are coming now are those that fall above that line drawn in 2011. It is not possible for us to keep changing our demands. In 2011, we’ve given the map and now in 2022, we say let’s change the map then the credibility of the government also goes away,” he added.
The chief minister empathised with the sentiments of the people in the border areas, but stated that they have their limitations.
When asked about the traditional heads looking to seek legal recourse, Sangma said that they have the right to do so. “I can’t change a report. Now if somebody could go for a legal course then it’s their right to do so. I don’t know what the outcome will be,” added Sangma.
The chief minister also expressed keenness to start talks on the second phase which will involve the other six areas of differences. The second phase is expected to be the most complicated one due to the conflicts that has erupted time and again in these areas like Langpih, Block 1 and Block 2.
“We have not come to an actual date but we keep discussing about the issue time and again even at personal level,” said Sangma referring to Assam CM Himanta Biswa Sarma.
He said the official talks may start somewhere in June and July but in the process they are already discussing on one-to-one level to see the best solution.
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