What is the Assam-Meghalaya border dispute, how the recent killing of six people impacts it

Source: The post is based on the article “What is the Assam-Meghalaya border dispute, how the recent killing of six people impacts it” published in Indian Express on 24th November.

What is the News?

Tension gripped along the Assam-Meghalaya border areas again after six people were killed when Assam police intercepted a truck that was allegedly smuggling timber.

What is Assam-Meghalaya Dispute?

Assam and Meghalaya share an 885 km border. In 1970, Meghalaya was carved out of Assam as an autonomous state.  In 1972, Meghalaya became a full-fledged state following the Assam Reorganisation (Meghalaya) Act of 1969.

This was the beginning of the border problem as the Meghalaya government found the Act unacceptable. As many as 12 land dispute points, along the border of these two states, have been a bone of contention. 

Major Point of Contention: A major point of contention between Assam and Meghalaya is the district of Langpih in West Garo Hills bordering the Kamrup district of Assam.

Langpih was part of the Kamrup district during the British colonial period but Post Independence, it became part of the Garo Hills and Meghalaya. Assam considers it to be part of the Mikir Hills in Assam.

What steps have been taken to resolve the dispute?

In 1983, a joint official committee was formed to address the border issues. The panel recommended that the Survey of India should re-delineate the border, teaming up with both states.

An independent panel, spearheaded by Justice YV Chandrachud, was set up in 1985. Meghalaya rubbished the report.

In March 2022, a historic MoU was signed between Assam Chief Minister and his Meghalaya counterpart. The agreement sought closure in six disputed sectors that were taken up for resolution in the first phase. 

The second phase of border talks was held with the two states deciding to form three regional committees to resolve issues regarding the remaining six disputed areas.

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