Assam, Nagaland officials to discuss border shooting

Nagaland tribal body denies attack on Congress MLA, accuses Assam of encroaching 2 km across the border

May 29, 2021 04:52 pm | Updated 04:52 pm IST - GUWAHATI

Senior police officials and administrative heads of districts along the Assam-Nagaland border have decided to meet soon to iron out issues including disputed areas in the Desoi Valley Reserve Forest along the border in Jorhat district.

The decision follows Thursday’s alleged firing upon a team led by Congress MLA Rupjyoti Kurmi allegedly by unidentified ‘encroachers’ from Nagaland. The MLA, who represents the border Assembly constituency Mariani, had gone to a hilly patch of the reserve forest to assess complaints of encroachment from people across the border.

The MLA and other members of the team, including forest officers, escaped unhurt.

“The IGPs of the border will meet in the next two days to discuss threadbare the issues and work out a solution,” Assam’s Special DGP G.P. Singh said after inspecting the disputed area on Friday.

Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma had directed the senior police officer to carry out a spot investigation after the ‘attack’.

“We noticed during our inspection that some areas of the reserve forest have been encroached upon with plantations that had been cleared by the Assam Forest Department on Wednesday,” Mr. Singh said.

Organisations in Nagaland, however, refuted the Assam ‘theory’ of encroachment and said no shots were fired at the Assam MLA and his team.

“In reality, Assam has encroached upon the land of the Nagas. They have occupied more than 2 km inside the territory of Nagaland,” said president of Northern Sumi Hoho Kughavi Chophy.

Hoho is the apex body of the Sumi Naga community.

The United Naga Tribes Association on Border Areas accused the Mariani MLA of triggering trouble on the border. “The MLA crossed the boundary and came inside more than 3 km near Vikuto village,” the association said, claiming Mr. Kurmi had destroyed the crops of the Nagaland villagers besides abusing them.

Mr. Kurmi, who has been on a hunger strike to protest the attack on him, denied harassing the Nagaland villagers.

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