The procedures for the second round of border negotiations between Assam and Meghalaya to address the border conflict have become “slightly complicated”, following the killing of six people in the November 22 violence at Mukroh village.
According to the Meghalaya CM – Conrad K Sangma on Tuesday, Assam and Meghalaya have reportedly identified 12 disputed areas along the interstate border.
These two northeastern states, which started the first round of talks in July 2021, inked a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) in March 2022 to settle disagreements 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,” stated Sangma.
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 negotiations to settle disagreements in the remaining six disputed regions was initiated, and regional committees have also been constituted.
“We strongly feel this is the way to move forward in resolving differences along the interstate border,” noted the Meghalaya CM.
The Meghalaya Government constituted three regional committees to examine the issue on September, and directed these panels to submit reports on the current scenario in 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 erupted at Mukroh along the Assam-Meghalaya border on November 22, after a truck purportedly carrying illegally-felled timber was intercepted by forest guards from Assam.
During the violence, nearly six persons, including a forest guard, were gunned down. Meghalaya and Assam have a protracted disagreement in the 12 areas along the 884.9-km-long interstate border.
Mukroh village is located nearly 30 kms east of West Jaintia Hills district headquarters in Jowai, around 10 km from the interstate border.
In order to resolve the conflict, both the northeastern states inked a pact in March 2022 in the presence of Union Minister of Home Affairs & Cooperation – Amit Shah in New Delhi towards ending the dispute.
Meghalaya was carved out of Assam in 1972 and had since then challenged the Assam Reorganization Act, 1971, which had demarcated the border between the two states.