GUWAHATI: Nagaland has made a fresh appeal to Assam for an out-of-court settlement of their bitter and vexed border row. For decades, Nagaland’s claim about alleged encroachment of its land by Assam had been based on “historical facts”. But now, the state admits that it does not have enough documents to buttress that. “We don’t have sufficient documents to prove the claim about encroachment of our land by the people from Assam. The state government is ready for an out-of-court settlement of the dispute,” Nagaland Chief Minister T R Zeliang said, adding, “Killings and violence will not cease on the border, as long as the dispute is not settled.” His comments came within days of the Supreme Court passing an interim order, directing the Union Home Ministry to settle the issue.
“The Nagaland CM’s comment doubly reinforces Assam’s case that legally, the land in question belongs to them. Hence, Nagaland must show respect to the legal aspect of the matter,” said Bijan Mahajan of Gauhati HC.
The two states have been embroiled in the row ever since Nagaland’s attainment of statehood in 1963. A case in this regard, filed by Assam, has also been dragging on in the apex court for long. The dispute rages on, despite a mediation process by the court.
Over 200 lives have been lost in skirmishes on the inter-state border, with major clashes occurring in 1968, 1979, 1985 and 1989. A recent flare-up left at least 15 people dead. Six Nagaland districts and five Assam districts run along the 512.1 km inter-state border, with six sectors, falling under the Disturbed Area Belt.