The northeastern states of Assam and Nagaland on Saturday signed agreements to immediately withdraw their forces from the border locations in a bid to de-escalate tensions between the states. Crediting Nagaland Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio for the efforts to restore peace, Assam CM Himanta Biswa Sarma expressed his gratitude over the “historic" step.
“In a major breakthrough towards de-escalating tensions at Assam-Nagaland border, the two Chief Secretaries have arrived at an understanding to immediately withdraw states’ forces from border locations to their respective base camps," Sarma said in a tweet on Saturday.
Meanwhile, Assam is also engaged in a decades old land dispute with its another neighbour, Mizoram. Both the neighbours claim land on the border between Assam’s Cachar and Mizoram’s Kolasib distric, and accuse each other of encroachment. The festering dispute erupted into a bloody conflict on July 26 and the situation currently in and around the place of clash along the Assam-Mizoram border remains tense. Criminal cases were filed against Sarma, four senior officers of the state police and two more officials over the violent clash, police said on Friday.
In a major breakthrough towards de-escalating tensions at Assam-Nagaland border, the two Chief Secretaries have arrived at an understanding to immediately withdraw states' forces from border locations to their respective base camps. 1/2 pic.twitter.com/mFbz1YCnoX— Himanta Biswa Sarma (@himantabiswa) July 31, 2021
Hailing the end of deadlock with Nagaland, Sarma on Thursday said, “This is a historic step in our relations. My gratitude to HCM Neiphiu Rio for working with Assam in restoring peace on the border."
“We will use satellite imagery to decide on the disputed territory between Assam and Nagaland. The understanding that we reached at today is significant," he said.
Sarma went on to reassure that Assam is committed to maintaining peace along all its borders and “strives for social and economic prosperity of NorthEast region."
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 & strives for social & economic prosperity of #NorthEast region. 2/2@AmitShah pic.twitter.com/IyQXuuID0u
— Himanta Biswa Sarma (@himantabiswa) July 31, 2021
The decision was taken in a virtual meeting held on July 31 between the Chief Secretaries of Assam and Nagaland with a view to resolving the ongoing deadlock on the Assam-Nagaland border in the Dessoi Valley Reserved Forest. After the detailed deliberations, following decisions were taken:
1. Disengagement at Jankhana Nala (Aosenden village area) [Nagaland Police COVID camp set up in Sep-Oct, 2020]
- Government of Assam and Government of Nagaland shall withdraw their forces, weaponry, and structures (permanent and semi-permanent) from Jankhana Nala aka Aosenden village area in Dessoi Valley Reserved Forest.
2. Disengagement at hilltop forest camp location compartment No. 12 Dessoi Valley Reserve Forest (Set up in Feb-March, 2021)
- The disengagement of forces will start simultaneously from both sides mean Vikuto village area and Kheremia Tea estate and be completed expeditiously. Both the forces shall withdraw from the engagement spot. They shall remove all the bunkers/tent/infrastructure.
- The huts which are constructed by encroachment of forest area by some Naga villagers in front of the Assam camp shall be removed forthwith.
- Assam Forest Department shall be allowed to establish a watch post to protect the Reserved Forest area.
3. Future border management –
- Assam and Nagaland should jointly monitor the area by patrolling and surveillance using UAV. Assam Forest officials shall continue their patrolling in the area.
- The renovation of long established New Chunthia BOP of Assam in the Dessoi Valley Forest be allowed immediately so that police personnel deployed there are not inconvenienced due to substandard living quarters.
- As the area is a reserved forest the entry of civilians be regulated by the jurisdictional forest authorities and both the states shall discourage movement of people from their side to avoid unnecessary build up of people.
- The RCC bridge over the river of Jankhana constructed recently from Nagaland side shall be dismantled immediately to prevent unauthorized free movement of people in the Reserved Forest.
(With inputs from Marya Shakil)