Editorial

History of territory

By Nagaland Post | Publish Date: 11/18/2020 12:50:53 PM IST

 Recent incidents along the boundary between Dimapur and Karbi Anglong districts serve as reminders of the long pending and unresolved border dispute between Assam and Nagaland which is with the Supreme Court. Assam has boundary disputes with other states in the north east such as- Nagaland, Meghalaya, Mizoram and Arunachal Pradesh with a long history of boundary incidents. The most recent border incident between Assam and Mizoram was the October 17 incident when around 20 houses were burnt and some 50 others injured in a clash. The Assam-Nagaland boundary issue was left un-demarcated since inception of statehood and efforts to find a common ground among the states have failed. The bone of contention remains the 1925 notification made by the Survey of India under the then British colonial government that effectively transferred large tracts of Naga areas under Sibsagar(now Sivasagar) district for “purely administrative convenience”. The ‘convenience’ then has resulted in a great deal of inconvenience, ninety five years today. The British had told the affected Naga tribes, that the transfer was purely for administrative convenience and would not affect their traditional rights over these lands and more so because the Imperial British government existed all over Assam, Burma and Manipur. Practically interpreted, the notification was not to have any implications over their traditional ownership and rights over their forest areas such as Daldali, Gorompani, Kakadanga, Dessoi etc. Assam has continued to allege large scale encroachment by the Nagas on these lands .As a point of argument, no landowner can be called and encroacher when he claims and occupies his land. In reality, the historical boundary between the Nagas and Ahoms lie within Sibsagar(now Sivasagar)district in Assam. In the changed circumstance, Nagas understand that though they are the rightful traditional owners of the large tracts of lands that are now within Assam, they are still willing to accept a rational adjustment but the fact that they are the traditional owners of the transferred forests and lands should not be erased from the record. Nagaland has insisted all along, that the 1925 notification cannot be taken as fait accompli as it was done without the knowledge or consent of the Nagas. Accepting the notification would mean that Nagaland has no claim whatsoever and therefore, as a consequence, no dispute exists with regard to the inter-state boundary. The boundary issue is not only about territory but about history. Assam itself is made up of various races who have their own history. The Bodos and Karbis to name some, also have every right to state their history and no Act of parliament or assembly can change that. Rejecting the traditional ownership is like rejecting history and in doing so, the distortion of the past is sought to be justified. Left on their own, the traditional land owners on both sides of the border, know which portion is theirs but unfortunately, the politics of the day leaves no room for accommodation. Both states need to take up the issue with earnestness and willingness to resolve the problem so that the future generations can coexist in peace and harmony. Imposing economic blockade is certainly never an option.

Launched on December 3,1990. Nagaland Post is the first and highest circulated newspaper of Nagaland state. Nagaland Post is also the first newspaper in Nagaland to be published in multi-colour.

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