• Border Tension: Assam and its disputed sisters

    Border Tension: Assam and its disputed sisters

    Guwahati: Commonly known as the Seven Sister States, Northeast India comprises Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Meghalaya, Manipur, Nagaland, Tripura, and Mizoram, the newest edition is Sikkim which became a part of the eight sister state in the year 2002.  

    Assam is a part of at least four border disputes out of the eight states, that includes Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland, Meghalaya, and Mizoram.

    Assam-Mizoram: In the very old and ongoing dispute comes Mizoram, a 148-year-old dispute still triggers tension between the two-state Assam and Mizoram. In 1875, Mizoram was a part of Assam and a part of it was known as Lushai hills, and the main issue is this part of Mizoram, which till date continue to face the brunt of the faulty border dispute. The dispute started soon after the formation of Mizoram, which was earlier part of Assam. In 1972, Mizoram became a Union Territory and in 1987 Mizoram was carved out as an independent state of India.

    On July 26, 6 Assam police personnel were killed and more than 60 have been critically injured and many houses of Mizoram have been burnt down over escalation of the long-standing border dispute. This is not the first time that the dispute has turned to be this violent, 2018, 2020, and still now the violence between the border is creating tensions in the country.

    Assam-Nagaland: Nagaland was the first to be carved out of Assam among the four disputed areas, in 1963, followed by Meghalaya, Mizoram, and Arunachal Pradesh in 1972 under the North-Eastern Areas (Reorganisation) Act, 1971. Borders of all these states were never properly demarcated or accepted by all sides, leaving states to fight among others.

    Assam’s most serious border issue is with Nagaland. Nagaland doesn’t agree to a 1963 border demarcation, clashes started long back in the 1960s but triggered more in 1985 over parcels of land in Merapani, half of which lies in Assam’s Golaghat and the other half in Nagaland’s Wokha.

    Assam-Meghalaya: Till 1972, Assam’s capital was Shillong as Meghalaya was a part of Assam till then. Shillong, the Scotland of the East, is an idyllic hill station nestled in Meghalaya. The main dispute between the two states is because of areas in Meghalaya’s West Garo Hills and Assam’s Kamrup district that includes Guwahati. Clashes started in 2010, between the Khasi, Garo Tribes, and Nepali Inhabitants of Assam, which again reoccurred in 2012 and 2018. issues of land encroachment continues to persist with both sides claiming land ownership over a disputed piece of land along the borders.

    Assam-Arunachal Pradesh: Border dispute began radiating in the 1980s, with both sides accusing each other of transgressing. Assam government has approached the Supreme Court about the settlement between the states. A major clash occurred in 2007, which included locals from both sides Assam and Arunachal. The dispute is yet to be settled before the Supreme Court. Repeated accounts of clashes take place between the two states.

    Assam along with its bordering sister states have been involved in violent clashes due to century old border demarcations created by the government. A immediate resolve into the internal border disputes is the need of the hour as violent incidents continue to become common in this part of the country especially when all of them have been carved out from a single unified state.