Arunachal holding talks with Assam on border issue, says State Home Minister

‘Both Govts. have agreed to resolve the matter peacefully’

Arunachal Pradesh Home Minister Bamang Felix on Monday said the State government has started holding discussions with its Assam counterpart to resolve the long-pending boundary dispute between the two North-eastern neighbours.

Both the governments have agreed to maintain status quo and resolve the matter peacefully, he said.

The discussions began after the Assam forest department last week served an eviction notice to residents of three villages on the disputed border.

“This is unfortunate. The matter has been taken seriously by the State government and talks have begun at various levels,” Mr. Felix told reporters here.

State Chief Minister Pema Khandu has spoken to his Assam counterpart Himanta Biswa Sarma on the issue, he said. “The State Chief Secretary and the Inspector General of Police have taken up the matter with their Assam counterparts,” Mr. Felix said.

The Range Forest Officer (RFO) of Harmutty in Assam’s North Lakhimpur district issued a notice asking people of three villages under Kimin Circle to vacate the place within 15 days, evoking resentment among various organisations in Arunachal Pradesh.

“The DCs and SPs of adjoining districts of the two States are already on talks to resolve the matter,” the Home Minister said.

Arunachal, which was carved out of Assam, was initially a Union territory. It became a full-fledged State in 1987.

Arunachal’s grievance

The State’s grievance is that during re-organisation of Northeastern States, several forested tracts in the plains that had traditionally belonged to hill tribal chiefs and communities were unilaterally transferred to Assam.

After Arunachal Pradesh achieved Statehood, a tripartite committee was appointed which recommended that certain territories be transferred from Assam to Arunachal. Assam contested this and the matter is now pending in the Supreme Court.

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