The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Assam toes Manipur line

Guwahati, Aug. 5: Cutting across party lines, members of the Assam Assembly today pressed for a resolution to protect the state’s territory from the “expansionist designs” of the NSCN (Isak-Muivah).

The militant group’s map of an integrated Naga homeland includes chunks of Assam’s territory. After an animated discussion on the subject, Assembly members reached a consensus on adopting a resolution “not to part with even an inch of land to the NSCN (I-M)-proposed Nagalim”.

The NSCN (I-M) has long been demanding that all contiguous Naga-inhabited areas of the region be brought under a single administrative umbrella. The Nagaland Assembly, too, has adopted a resolution for the “unification of all Naga contiguous areas”.

The 16-point Agreement, on the basis of which Nagaland became the 16th state of the Indian Union, contains a clause on integration of contiguous Naga areas. But the three states that border Nagaland — Arunachal Pradesh, Assam and Manipur — have always opposed any mention of this clause.

Apart from Nagaland, the NSCN (I-M)’s vision of a “Nagalim” encompasses the four Naga-dominated hill districts of Manipur, Tirap and Changlang districts of Arunachal Pradesh and parts of the North Cachar Hills and Karbi Anglong districts of Assam.

The Manipur Assembly was the first to adopt a resolution to protect the state’s territorial integrity.

The state’s resilience was in evidence during the uprising that followed Delhi’s decision to extend its ceasefire with the NSCN (I-M) beyond Nagaland.

Assam chief minister Tarun Gogoi is likely to table a resolution tomorrow, as demanded by all parties.

The discussion on the subject began with legislators expressing concern over reports of Nagaland gradually extending its territory. They demanded steps to end the border dispute at the earliest.

Raising the issue during Zero Hour, AGP member Hitendra Nath Goswami asked the government how it proposed to go about settling the dispute. Leader of the Opposition and AGP chief Brindaban Goswami attributed the impasse to the government’s “weak stand”.

Minister of state for home Rockybul Hussain assured the members that the government was committed to the task.

Dispur formed a four-member ministerial committee to tackle inter-state border disputes after suspected NSCN (I-M) activists shot dead an Assam government official and a constable during a campaign to evict Naga settlers from Monglumukh in Karbi Anglong district. The incident occurred on July 1.

Health and family welfare minister Bhumidhar Barman heads the panel.

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