ITANAGAR ( By Pradeep Kumar )- Decade old Arunachal-Assam Boundary issue and Kimin Controversy- Erasing name of Arunachal Pradesh by white ink has surfaced and the BRO well could be accused of this blunder. But the BRO set up on 07.05.1960 to secure India’s borders and develop infrastructure in remote areas of north and north-east states of the country under Border Roads Development Board with Prime Minister as chairman and Defence Minister as Deputy Chairman. If at all such a move, what is the intention? By any chance, was it apprehension that China as usual would react to visit of any top central leader to Arunachal? China is known for dog’s tail policy on India. When god could not straighten dog’s tail, who can dare do it?
The Kimin controversy brings into limelight the decades-old inter-state boundary dispute between both neighbouring states of Arunachal Pradesh and Assam.
The official statement by the central or Arunachal or Assam Govt about the status of Kimin is not going to make any difference until the inter-state boundary dispute is amicably resolved.
This issue has been decorating the state assembly and Lok Sabha election manifestos since past decades while the Supreme Court had constituted a boundary commission but still the solution has remained a far cry.
In fact, the father of this inter-state boundary row is then Assam Prime Minister Gopinath Bordoloi, who as member of Constitution drafting committee, was well aware of implication of boundary line. Thus, the boundary between Assam and Arunachal Pradesh (known as North East Frontier Agency -NEFA- then) was drawn on the basis of single-man Bordoloi Commission, 1951.
This again reminds the illegal eviction drive on April, 2012 by 300-armed police personnel led by Assam’s Dhemaji district SP, ADC and SDO, who armed with excavator had demolished the pandal etc. erected at Malini Mela ground at Likabali under W/Siang district and took away the CGI sheets and other materials of the organizing committee around 2.30 am Thursday without any prior notice.
Then chief minister Nabam Tuki, after conducting an aerial survey of the evicted area, had termed it provocative.
It would be worth mentioning here that the CMs of both states agreed to honour the status quo on 10-07-87, 12-08-95 and 20-07-99. Further, they held a joint meeting on 31-08-91 and a joint ministerial meet on 27/28-05-98. The Assam government moved the Supreme Court in September 1989, which constituted the Local Boundary Committee in Sept 2004 to identify the boundaries of Assam, Arunachal and Nagaland.
Despite all this, the Assam police and forest officials continue evictions unabated in the name of 1951 report that demarcates the so called inter-state boundary of the then NEFA, now rejected by the people of Arunachal, who had no representative in the commission.
To cite some major examples, 1) Russa Village incident of Aug 14, 2010 which snowballed into in inter-state tension and imposition of economic blockade by NGOs of Assam. This had led to constitution of a high-level committee headed by the then minister Setong Sena to visit Dispur and hold talks with a ministerial committee of Assam to bring back normalcy.
200 villagers of Dolung village under Papum Pare district evicted on 20-12-04, and on 05-02-05 burnt down 9 houses and a granary in Dipik village, is the another example.
On 05.02.05 in Dipik village under Dising Passo circle of East Kameng district unprovoked eviction by forest and police personnel of Assam, is one more example .
People of both states have been coexisting peacefully since decades but some Assam officials create skirmishes from time to time under the shelter of Bordoloi commission notification.
On 02.04.10, then Union Home Minister P Chidambaram had told media persons at Itanagar that the Centre is making all efforts to find a lasting solution to the decades-old boundary dispute. “The Supreme Court-constituted one-man Local Boundary Commission, headed by justice Tarun Kumar Chatterjee, who replaced justice Variabha recently, is looking into the pros and cons of the boundary issue and is expected to send a report to the home ministry soon”.
But the issue is gathering dust with the commission while people living along the boundary, particularly the Arunchalees, continue to suffer as the Assam-Arunachal boundary dispute is sub-judice in the Supreme Court.
If Mizoram on June 22 decided to resolve its boundary dispute with Assam and Tripura, there should be no delay in this regard, particularly when BJP-led Govt is ruling at the Centre as well as in Arunachal Pradesh and Assam. Why not consult legal experts and move the Lok Sabha to replace Bordoloi Commission-1951 notification by a now boundary which should be drawn with mutual understanding?
Arunachal Pradesh Chief Minister Pema Khandu has rightly proposed his Assam counterpart to solve the inter-state boundary row mutually. However, a high-level committee should be formed soon to suggest the border line.
Present MLA Tarin Dakpe, who as East Kameng DC was involved in boundary row discussion with his Assam’s Sonitpur counterpart and present political joint secretary Rajiv Takuk, having through knowledge of inters-state boundary should be included in that panel.