Three districts of Mizoram – Aizawl, Kolasib and Mamit – share a 164.6 km long border with Hailakandi, Karimganj and Cachar districts of Assam.
In the latest attempt to resolve their border disputes, Assam and Mizoram held a ministerial meeting earlier this week. Going forward, the chief ministers of the two neighboring states – Himanta Biswa Sarma and Zoramthanga – are likely to hold talks in Delhi by the end of this month or early September.
It is largely in poorly demarcated areas where conflicts occur. The border conflict of July 2021 was also the result of conflicting territorial claims that have been going on for more than two decades. Incidents of similar violence were reported in 1994, 2007, March 2018 and October 2020.
As Zoramthanga said, the dispute cannot be resolved overnight or in one go, it dates back to the time when Mizoram was carved out of Assam and became a union territory and then a separate state in 1986 .
The same problem persists between Assam and three other states – Arunachal Pradesh. Meghalaya and Nagaland which was once a part of Assam as well. There are two cases pending in Supreme court from the 1980s.
Despite legal complications, Assam Chief Minister Sarma and his Arunachal counterpart Pema Khandu Last month, the Namsai Declaration was officially signed to end a decade-old border conflict, which had its origins in the Inner Line Regulation introduced by the colonial regime in 1873.
The British divided the hills and plains by this system into the former north east frontier areas. It became the North East Frontier Agency (NEFA) after independence but remained under the administrative control of Assam. NEFA was renamed as Arunachal Pradesh and became a union territory in 1972 and a full-fledged state in 1987. So, one can imagine how complicated it was to separate this state from Assam.
Both the states share 804.1 km long border. Arunachal Pradesh’s complaint is that many forest areas in the plains that traditionally belonged to hill tribal chiefs and communities were unilaterally transferred to Assam.
In 1987, a tripartite committee was appointed which recommended that some areas be transferred from Assam to Arunachal. The former opposed this and the matter went to the Supreme Court.
As per the Namsai announcement, the number of disputed villages will now go down to at least 86 from the earlier figure of 123. It also said that 28 of the 123 disputed villages “which are within the constitutional limits of Arunachal Pradesh” would remain with the eastern state while three would be with Assam.
In addition, six more villages, which “could not have been located on the Assam side” and if found to exist on the Arunachal side, would continue to be part of the latter.
If such an out-of-court mechanism works between Assam and Arunachal, it could prompt Mizoram and Meghalaya to take a similar approach, though each dispute differs from the other. Whatever the case, a long-term solution is the need of the hour.
‘every village’ snake flag!
United Naga Council (UNC), the apex body of Naga tribes ManipurAccording to local media reports, a directive has been issued recently that every village under its jurisdiction should hoist the ‘Naga National Flag’ on August 14.
It was Angami Zapu Phizo, the leader of the Naga National Council (NNC) who declared the independence of the Naga inhabited areas on August 14, 1947. Since then, the Nagas have been celebrating 14 August as their Independence Day. The NNC is the parent organization of the National Socialist Council of Nagaland or NSCN, which currently has several factions.
The UNC said in a statement that the decision was taken following the Seventh Remembrance Program of the Historic Framework Agreement signed between the Government of India and the NSCN on August 3, 2015.
“As you are aware of the sanctity of our National Flag, we direct you to accord the highest honor and respect to it as it is hoisted as usual as it is the most respected symbol of our unity and of one guides our way as the nation,” according to the statement quoted by Ukhrul Times.
Meanwhile, the Chief Minister of Nagaland nephiu rio On Friday, the Nagas were urged to actively participate in special celebrations and unfurl the national flag at their homes to mark 75 years of Indian independence.
The UNC directive assumes significance in the light of the current impasse in the Naga peace process. The NSCN (IM) insists on a separate flag and a constitution, a demand that is unlikely to be passed with the BJP-led central government. Nevertheless, the rebel group clarified its position at an “emergency meeting” at its camp near Dimapur on 31 May.
“How can we lose the Naga National Flag and the Naga Constitution in the name of a Naga political solution?” NSCN(IM) president said ky tuku, “What we have that defines our political identity can never be compromised for a sweet morsel in the name of Naga political settlement. We cannot be made a laughing stock in front of the world by succumbing to pressure or temptation.”
Last year, the UNC called for a 24-hour bandh in all Naga areas with effect from August 14 in protest against the Manipur government’s order asking all village heads to hoist the Indian national flag.