Arunachal: Fire exchange between Assam Forest officers and Illegal tree fellers in Ranga Reserve Forest

Arunachal Pradesh government ordered an inquiry

ITANAGAR: Illegal tree fellers from Arunachal Pradesh and forest officers of Assam exchanged fire at No 1 Belbasti inside the Ranga Reserve Forest, but no one was injured, according to officials in Assam’s Lakhimpur.

However, the  Arunachal Pradesh government ordered an inquiry into the exchange of fire between forest officers of Assam and illegal tree fellers at the inter-state boundary on Tuesday, officials said.

Inspector-general of police (Law and Order) Chuku Apa said that he has directed Papum Pare’s superintendent of police (SP) to conduct an inquiry into the incident.

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“We are not sure who fired from our side. Presumably, miscreants did it to create misunderstanding between the two neighbouring states,” Apa said.

The exchange of fire took place less than 24 hours after senior officials from Lakhimpur and Papum Pare districts met at Upia in Arunachal Pradesh on Monday afternoon to discuss inter-state boundary issues.

Last week, the Assam forest department served a 15-day eviction notice to three villages in the Kimin circle, evoking resentment among various organisations in Arunachal Pradesh.

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Arunachal Pradesh home minister Bamang Felix told on Monday that both states are undertaking a massive exercise to resolve the long-pending boundary dispute. Arunachal Pradesh and Assam share an 804.1-km-long border.

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, Arunachal Pradesh contends.

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

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