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Teams rush to affected area

Jorhat, Aug. 13: A five-member team from the Border Peace Co-ordination Committee (Assam-Nagaland) today visited Uriamghat along the Assam-Nagaland border to take stock of the volatile situation prevailing along the border.

A fact-finding team of Golaghat-Wokha Friendship Forum, comprising members from both Golaghat district in Assam and Wokha district in Nagaland, also visited the area.

A committee member said discussions would be held after the two teams complete their visit and find the “real picture” which has resulted in the escalation of violence.

“We would try to defuse tension through the message of peace,” a member of the committee told The Telegraph today.

Both the organisations have been working jointly for several years now to build the bridge of friendship between the people residing on the two sides of the border. Frequent cultural exchange programmes, sports events and regular interactions are being held between the people of either states at the behest of the two organisations.

The committee member said the genesis of the problem was land. “People residing on either side claim that the particular plot of land belongs to them. Unless there is proper demarcation of the border, these incidents would continue to take place,” he said.

The Naga hills district boundary was created by a 1925 notification and the same boundary was made into the inter-state border when Nagaland was formed in 1963. However, Nagaland has refused to accept the border demarcation. It believes that the 1925 line is a weak line that was never demarcated on the basis of ground reality. Clashes for land have become frequent and even construction of roads has practically not been possible because of the adamant stand of both states.

Sources said the latest incident is also related to a land issue with an Adivasi villager residing on the Assam side of the border refusing to pay tax to a villager of Nagaland whose land the Adivasi villager has been cultivating for over a decade.

“The issue was discussed between senior district administration officials of Wokha and Golaghat on July 18 and the Adivasi villager was asked to vacate the land. But he refused to do so claiming that since he was carrying out cultivation on the particular plot since over a decade now the land belonged to him. He took up the issue with several Adivasi organisations in Assam and the violence resulted. Unfortunately, the abduction of two youths from the Assam side of the border took place at the same time,” he said.