After Meghalaya, Arunachal residents unhappy about Assam border deal

The Chief Ministers of the two States signed a Memorandum of Understanding on April 20 in the presence of Home Minister Amit Shah to end 50 years of dispute 

Updated - April 26, 2023 09:43 am IST

Published - April 25, 2023 07:49 pm IST - GUWAHATI

Union Home Minister Amit Shah witnesses the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding between Arunachal Pradesh Chief Minister Pema Khandu and Assam CM Himanta Biswa Sarma to resolve the dispute along the boundaries of the States. File

Union Home Minister Amit Shah witnesses the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding between Arunachal Pradesh Chief Minister Pema Khandu and Assam CM Himanta Biswa Sarma to resolve the dispute along the boundaries of the States. File | Photo Credit: ANI

After a few of their counterparts in Meghalaya, some border residents of Arunachal Pradesh have opposed the boundary deal with Assam, signed on April 20.

Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma and his Arunachal Pradesh counterpart Pema Khandu signed the Memorandum of Understanding in the presence of Home Minister Amit Shah to end the 50-year-old dispute pertaining to 123 villages, along their 804-km inter-State border.

The Tirap, Changlang and Longding People’s Forum (TCLPF) has threatened to go to court against the “unilateral, biased” boundary deal “totally against the interest of Arunachal’s Tangsa people living in Assam and the affected villages of Changlang district”.

Also Read | Modi govt. brought development, removed bottleneck in Arunachal, says CM Khandu

Tirap, Changlang and Longding are the easternmost districts of Arunachal Pradesh.

The TCLPF’s objection to the pact was in respect of Changlang and Assam’s Tinsukia district. It referred to a clause in the boundary deal that reads: “There was no claimed village for Changlang-Tinsukia in 2007 before the local commission. Therefore, HPTC (High-Powered Tripartite Committee) boundary shall be abided by both States in the Changlang-Tinsukia area.”

The people of 13 villages on either side of the border convened a meeting on April 24 to strongly oppose the boundary deal, the forum said in a statement.

No ground survey

“The Survey of India submitted a report during the last hearing in New Delhi on November 27, 2010, dwelling on the location of disputed villages on its maps. The report pointed out that the most important aspect, i.e., the ground survey, was not done. Only a detailed ground survey can provide information on the factual position of the villages/areas,” the forum said.

The forum also said a local commission appointed by the Supreme Court in 2006 carried out field visits in certain areas of Arunachal Pradesh but did not visit or conduct any survey in Changlang district. “As a result, it was indicated that there were no claimed villages for the Changlang-Tinsukia district in 2007,” it said.

“The local commission in its report showed district-wise transfer of areas by a notification of 1951 and areas claimed by Arunachal Pradesh through the proposal of a boundary adjustment. About 330 sq. km was transferred from Changlang district to Tinsukia district, without the consent of the people of Changlang,” the forum said.

The meeting of Arunachal Pradesh border villagers coincided with a rally by the people of Khanduli, a village disputed between Assam and Meghalaya, against a tax gate set up by a tribal council of Assam on Monday.

Meghalaya claims Khanduli is in the State’s West Jaintia Hills district while Assam claims it is within the Karbi Anglong Autonomous Council.

The tax gate was re-erected after people from Meghalaya dismantled it a few days ago.

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