Guwahati, Assam: There are reports of pressure mounted on the residents in disputed border areas in Assam’s Kamrup (Rural) district along Meghalaya, to choose the neighboring state while settling the boundary row, said Atul Bora, the Assam Border Areas Development Minister.
The Congress’s Local Boko MLA Nandita Das claimed that the Meghalaya Police too had a role in encouraging local residents to opt for the bordering state. Replying to Das in the Assembly, Bora said, we have some reports that police administration is encouraging people to choose Meghalaya.
Bora and Das are members of a committee formed by the Assam government to look into the disputes in Kamrup (Rural) district areas bordering Meghalaya, and the panel had visited some of these areas a couple of months back for on-ground inspection and were accompanied by members of a committee from Meghalaya side.
He also said, Assam has administrative control in the areas under Boko LAC and though these are mostly Garo community-dominated areas, many such villages are likely to opt to remain with Assam. We have to ensure the safety of lives and property. We have started police patrolling and activated the village defense parties. Quick response teams are on standby, in case any law and order situation arises, Bora added. Das also claimed that people from Assam were not allowed to attend the meeting organized by the joint inspection team to give the impression before the delegation that the local residents preferred Meghalaya. It must be noted that Meghalaya was created out of Assam as a separate state in 1972 and it had challenged the Assam Reorganisation Act, 1971, leading to disputes related to 12 areas in different parts of the shared 884.9 km long border.
Assam and Meghalaya had identified 12 points of disputes in August 2021, with six points, including the area under Boko legislative assembly constituency in Assam, taken up for resolution in the first phase. Bora further stressed that the preference of the residents to choose a state is not the sole criterion for settling the disputes, but ethnicity being an important factor will be taken into consideration.