The process for the second round of talks between Assam and Meghalaya for resolving the border dispute has become “slightly complicated”, following the killing of six people in the November 22 violence at Mukroh village, Meghalaya Chief Minister Conrad K Sangma said on Tuesday.
Assam and Meghalaya have identified 12 disputed areas along the interstate border. These two northeastern states, which started the first round of discussions in July 2021, signed an MoU in March this year to resolve differences in six areas. “The situation (for border talks) is slightly complicated and we may not be able to go forward immediately. It could get delayed,” Sangma said here.
The violence at Mukroh village falling in the disputed Block-I area along the interstate boundary has resulted in clashes in the state's capital Shillong and six districts in the Khasi Jaintia Hills region.
The process for the second phase of talks to resolve differences in the remaining six disputed areas was initiated, and regional committees have also been set up.
“We strongly feel this is the way to move forward in resolving differences along the interstate border,” the Meghalaya CM said, indicating that his government wants to sort out the border dispute at the earliest.
In September, the Meghalaya government constituted three regional committees to examine the issue, and asked these panels to submit reports on the present status of the remaining six areas within 45 days.
The remaining six disputed border areas between the two northeastern states are in Block-I in West Jaintia Hills district, Block-II in Ri-Bhoi and Langpih in West Khasi.
Violence at Mukroh had broken out at the Assam-Meghalaya border in the early hours of November 22 after a truck allegedly laden with illegally felled timber was intercepted by forest guards from Assam.
Six people, including a forest guard, were gunned down amid the clashes.
Meghalaya and Assam have a longstanding dispute in the 12 areas along the 884.9-km-long interstate border, and the location where the violence took place is one of them.
Mukroh village, 30 km east of West Jaintia Hills district headquarters of Jowai, is located around 10 km from the interstate border.
The two northeastern states had signed a memorandum of understanding in March this year in the presence of Union Home Minister Amit Shah in New Delhi towards ending the dispute.
Meghalaya was carved out of Assam in 1972 and had since then challenged the Assam Reorganisation Act, 1971, which had demarcated the border between the two states.
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