Post Mortem

Double edged sword

By Nagaland Post | Publish Date: 11/17/2020 1:30:16 PM IST

 Permit me to share some views regarding the current disputes on the inter state borders in North East India. In the last few weeks we have been witnessing the Assam Mizoram skirmish on the border issue leading to a blockade of the NH 306 leading to Mizoram state. We are also witnessing right now a blockade of Nagaland by groups over the border issue. Assam also has border disputes with Meghalaya and Arunachal Pradesh as well sometimes leading to loss of lives and causing untold hardships to the people affected.

The current interstate borders are largely a colonial construct with a toxic legacy. They were drawn up without the consent of the local tribes by the British imperialists and they were also designed with the motive of "divide and rule". The British wanted to pit one tribe against another or break the resistance of troublesome tribes by dividing their territory into disparate districts. Seventy years after independence we have failed to realise this.The problem has been aggravated by unabated infiltration especially into Assam leading to severe population pressure on scarce land resources. As a tribal and a fellow northeasterner I believe the aggrieved smaller states like Nagaland, Meghalaya etc should press the Centre for the formation of a boundary commission that will look into this issue. 

Only a comprehensive study, redrawing and demarcation of the state boundaries will be the solution to this problem. As far as Assam is concerned they are playing a duplicitous game. On the Meghalaya border issue they display maps of 1964 to buttress their claim. On the other hand as far as their dispute with Mizoram is concerned they base their claim on maps from the year 1933. Also the employment of road blockades to put pressure on the hill states is highly objectionable and provocative. With new transit projects like on the Kaladan river coming up most North East states will not be fully dependent on Assam for their essentials in the near future. The blockades may turn out to be a double edged sword.

I hope that civil society groups like the student bodies, mother's unions etc in your state take this issue seriously. The formation of a boundary commission for the North East will go a long way in bringing about peace and also normalcy in the lives of people adversely affected by these running feuds.

Edelbert K Badwar, Shillong

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