Breakthrough in Assam-Nagaland border dispute: Two states start withdrawing forces

Guwahati/Dimapur, Aug 1 (IANS): Amid the ongoing Assam-Mizoram major border troubles, in a major development over the Assam-Nagaland border plight, the two northeastern states on Saturday started pulling out of their forces from the two disputed locations.

Assam Chief Secretary Jishnu Barua and his Nagaland counterpart J. Alam in the presence of Assam Education Minister Ranoj Pegu and Nagaland Deputy Chief Minister Y. Patton signed a pact in Dimapur to withdraw their respective forces from the two disputed locations.

Soon after the signing of the agreement, withdrawal of forces was started by both Assam and Nagaland. The two northeastern states share a 512.1 km inter-state border.

According to the agreement, both sides agreed that in order to maintain peace and tranquillity in the areas around Ao Senden village and Vikuto village, as they are known in Nagaland, and Jankhona Nala and Nagajankha in Assam, urgent and effective steps are required for defusing the standoff between the security forces of Nagaland and Assam.

The two states have decided that they would monitor the disputed area by surveillance using drone and satellite imagery with a view to maintaining the status quo.

The Superintendents of Police of the districts of Mokokchung (Nagaland) and Jorhat (Assam) shall ensure orderly withdrawal of their respective forces and shall be responsible for it in the instant case.

Later, Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma tweeted: "This is a historic step in our relations. My gratitude to HCM Sri Neiphiu Rio for working with Assam in restoring peace on the border. Assam is committed to ensuring peace along all its borders and strives for social and economic prosperity of the northeast region."

Nagaland Deputy Chief Minister Y. Patton said that the signing of agreement for simultaneous withdrawal of security personnel was decided after interaction with Union Home Minister Amit Shah on July 24-25.

Patton also requested his Assam counterpart for the safe passage of Naga commuters, not only in some particular gates, but in all the gates so that the travellers are not harassed.

The Chief Ministers of both the states had recently agreed to withdraw their police forces and maintain a peaceful atmosphere in the border areas, Patton said.

The decades-old Nagaland and Assam border dispute cases are pending in the Supreme Court for many years.

Many people have been killed, most of them on the Assam side, in the attacks by the armed forces from Nagaland in different incidents in 1979, 1985, 2007 and 2014.


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