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Plan for 2 more outposts

Protesters carrying bows and arrows block the NH 39 in Golaghat on Wednesday. Picture by UB Photos

Jorhat, Aug. 20: Two more border outposts will be set up along the Assam-Nagaland border in Jorhat district by the Assam government and existing roads on the Assam side of the inter-state boundary improved.

Jorhat, which shares a 101km boundary with Mokokchung and Wokha districts of Nagaland, has 13 outposts. There have been incidents of attacks on border residents reportedly from the Nagaland side resulting in tension between the two states with road blockades often imposed against Nagaland by studentsí organisations.

A group of 10 to 15 armed policemen from different Assam Police battalions are stationed at an outpost. Each outpost carries patrolling on bikes and at times on foot.

Yesterday, the six-day-old economic blockade imposed by the Assam Tea Tribes Studentsí Association (ATTSA) at Mariani against Nagaland following border violence in Uriamghat in adjoining Golaghat district, was lifted after talks between the district administration led by Jorhat deputy commissioner Solanki Vishal Vasant and ATTSA leaders.

Solanki said taking into account the incidents occurring in the past along the Assam-Nagaland boundary in the Mariani area, the district administration had submitted a proposal to the home department to set up two new border outposts in the area to maintain peace. The DC said the proposal was under process.

Alert

Policemen have been deployed at Naginijan tea estate along the Assam-Nagaland border off Mariani town after suspected miscreants torched an abandoned hut in the wee hours today. Jorhat SP Amanjeet Kaur said the police were on alert to prevent trouble.

Assam chief minister Tarun Gogoi, who was here on Sunday, has reportedly promised to clear the proposal forthwith.

There is a proposal to set up one border outpost at Rajabari and the other at Naginijan tea estate. On June 3 last year, Sanjoy Bhumij, a worker at Naginijan estate, was killed when he, along with four others, were shot by suspected militants from the Nagaland side of the border.

The incident created tension between both the states with several organisations imposing economic blockades against the neighbouring state and all kinds of vehicular traffic stopped for many days. Prior to that, on May 23, Nagaland residents abducted two labourers from the same garden while they were cultivating paddy within the garden which Nagas claim as their territory.

Though the duo was released within two days, the situation changed drastically.

Solanki said the decision to set up two additional outposts has been taken after reviewing the security scenario in the aftermath of last yearís incidents. There was also a demand by ATTSA and local people to increase deployment of security personnel in the area.

He said another proposal of repair work on 15 of the small roads along the border was under Dispurís active consideration.

Solanki said the district administration has agreed to the demand of ATTSA to send a proposal to the government to install solar-powered lights in the inter-state boundary areas, which have several forests. This would assist in maintaining security and will also provide some kind of relief from elephant depredation in the area.

Additional deputy commissioner Dwijen Singh said the two Nagaland districts sharing a border with Jorhat have been asked to maintain high alert to prevent spread of violence.

Jorhat superintendent of police Amanjeet Kaur said patrolling on foot was increased and the situation being closely watched on a regular basis to prevent any kind of untoward incident.


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