Disquiet in Northeast

Source: This post is created based on the article “Disquiet in Northeast” published in The Hindu on 25th November 2022.

Syllabus: GS Paper 2 – issues and challenges pertaining to the federal structure

News: The boundary dispute between Meghalaya and Assam has resurfaced after the killing of five villagers from Meghalaya by Assam forest guards. Both state governments are putting their versions of the incident, blaming each other for the incident.

Meghalaya was carved out of Assam in 1970 as an autonomous region and became a full-fledged State in 1972.

In March, Assam and Meghalaya resolved the boundary dispute at six out of total 12 such locations along their 884.9 km boundary.

Though the latest flare-up did not arise out of this dispute, it happened along a disputed border stretch.

Assam has boundary disputes at various points in time with the States carved out of it — Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland, Meghalaya and Mizoram.

Last year, the police forces of Assam and Mizoram clashed, killing five on the Assam side. Dozens of people have died in conflicts along State borders in the northeast over the years.

Read moreThe Borders Inside – on interstate border disputes

What are the reasons behind such interstate disputes?

These conflicts have their origins in the colonial cartography that overlooked the life patterns of local communities.

Traditional hunting, grazing and farming grounds of communities got divided by modern administrative boundaries at many places.

When new States were formed, such concerns acquired a more serious nature, and the Naga demand for a unified homeland that is now spread beyond the State of Nagaland is instructive.

Union Home Minister Amit Shah had asked Assam to take the lead in resolving the lingering disputes.

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