Citing illegal encroachments, Assam student body starts indefinite economic blockade of Nagaland

Led by Karbi Students Association (KSA), the organisations blocked NH 39 from 8am. Several trucks carrying goods and other commercial vehicles have been stranded because of the blockade

Several organisations in Assam’s Karbi Anglong district have started an indefinite economic blockade of Nagaland from Tuesday citing alleged illegal encroachments by the neighbouring state.

Led by Karbi Students Association (KSA), the organisations blocked NH 39 from 8am. Several trucks carrying goods and other commercial vehicles have been stranded because of the blockade.

There are allegations that Nagaland authorities have issued land certificates to people in areas falling in the Daldali forest reserve under Karbi Anglong Autonomous Council (KAAC) in Assam.

Authorities in Assam also allege that border pillars demarcating the 512 km-long boundary between the two states have been removed by people from Nagaland in order to encroach on Assam territory.

“Encroachment of Assam territory has been going on for many years, but the state government has failed to stop it. Hence, we have decided to impose the indefinite economic blockade against it,” KSA president Bijoy Bey told journalists on Sunday.

“We demand that both the state governments talk and find a permanent solution to the border dispute. Houses constructed on Assam soil should be vacated, land certificates issued by Nagaland government should be cancelled and border pillars should be reinstalled in the original spots,” he added.

District police officials said that though the protesters have blocked movement of commercial vehicles, private vehicles have been allowed to ply without restrictions. No violence was reported from the protest sites.

“Normal movement of private vehicles hasn’t been affected and protesters have blocked vehicles carrying goods. Border disputes between both the states can be resolved only by the Centre or through the Supreme Court where a case is pending. Our job is to maintain peace and ensure law and order,” said Debojit Deuri, superintendent of police, Karbi Anglong.

On Monday, members of Assam’s Adivasi Students Union (ASU) had blocked the road leading to Nagaland’s Mokokchung alleging encroachment by the Naga side. The blockade was lifted in the evening.

Assam’s leading student body, All Assam Students Union (AASU), had on Sunday threatened to block roads to Nagaland in protest against alleged encroachment of Dissoi Valley reserve forest in Assam’s Jorhat district.

The present border row between the two states comes on the heels of a month-long dispute between Assam and Mizoram which resulted in two road blockades. The situation along the Assam-Mizoram boundary is now returning to normal following intervention of the union home ministry.

Nagaland and Assam share a 434 km boundary and a dispute that’s going on for over five decades. Nagaland has been claiming some portions of Assam as theirs while the latter has accused it of encroaching thousands of hectares of its land.

Both states have refused to accept recommendations of two commissions set up by Centre to solve the issue and a suit is pending in Supreme Court on the issue since 1988.

There have been several violent clashes on the issue. Over 100 people have been killed, most of them on the Assam side, in alleged attacks by armed men from Nagaland in separate incidents in 1979, 1985 and 2014.

Source: Hindustan Times


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