Police deployed at Lalilapur police patrol post in Cachar district bordering Mizoram following the interstate border clash. (ANI)
NEW DELHI: The bloody clash between the security forces of Assam and Mizoram has brought back the focus on disputes between states over the border.
In the backdrop of this development in the northeast, which claimed lives of six Assam police personnel and injured dozens others, the government informed the Parliament on Tuesday that there are a total of seven inter-state border disputes at present in the country.
In reply to a question asked by Haji Fazlur Rehman, Bahujan Samaj Party(BSP) MP from Saharanpur, the government listed seven such conflicts, including the Assam-Mizoram dispute, in which two states claim a piece of land.
Here’s a look at the seven inter-state border disputes:-
This is the conflict that has led to renewed discussions on state borders. Mizoram used to be a district of Assam before being carved out as a separate union territory and later, becoming another state. Because of the history, the district’s borders did not really matter for locals for a long time. Mizoram shares a border with the districts Cachar, Hailakandi and Karimganj of Assam.
Over time, the two states started having different perceptions about where the demarcation should be. While Mizoram wants it to be along an inner line notified in 1875 to protect tribals from outside influence, which Mizos feel is part of their historical homeland, Assam wants it to be demarcated according to district boundaries drawn up much later.
The two northern states have a border dispute over the Parwanoo region, which lies next to the Panchkula district of Haryana. Haryana has laid a claim to a large part of the land in the area and has accused the hill state of encroaching some of its area.
The union territory of Ladakh and Himachal both claim Sarchu, a major halt point for those travelling through Leh-Manali highway. The region is located between Himachal Pradesh’s Lahaul and Spiti district and Ladakh’s Leh district.
Perhaps the biggest border dispute in the country is between Maharashtra and Karnataka over the Belgaum district. Belgaum has a sizable population of both Marathi and Kannada speaking people and the two states have wrestled over the region in the past. The area used to be part of the Bombay presidency from the time of the Britishers but was included in Karnataka after the states reorganisation exercise in 1956.
Assam shares a 804.10 km inter-state boundary with Arunachal Pradesh. The state of Arunachal Pradesh, created in 1987, claims somel land that traditionally belonged to its residents has been given to Assam. A tripartite committee had recommended that certain territories be transferred from Assam to Arunachal. The two states have since been battling it out in the Supreme court over the issue. Some incidents of local violence have been reported from the borders.
The border dispute between the two states has been going on since the formation of Nagaland in 1963. The two states lay claim to Merapani, a small village next to the plains of Assam’s Golaghat district. There have been reports of violent clashes in the region since the 1960s.
Meghalaya has identified close to a dozen areas on which it has a dispute with Assam about the state’s borders. The chief ministers of the two states, Himanta Biswa Sarma and Megahalya’s Conrad K Sangma, recently held the first-ever meeting on inter-state border dispute. Both the states have agreed to individually assess the claims for all 12 areas flagged by Meghalaya in the past. A second round of discussion between the two state CMs will be held next month.
On the question of the role the Union Government is playing in redressing the inter-State border dispute in the country, minister of state for home affairs Nityanand Rai said, “The approach of the Central Government has consistently been that inter-state disputes can be resolved only with the cooperation of the State Governments concerned and that the Central Government acts only as a facilitator for amicable settlement of the dispute in the spirit of mutual understanding.”