Villagers block a road at Behali to protest the killings. File picture
Tezpur, Aug. 31: Arunachal Pradesh today said an underground outfit from the frontier state had claimed responsibility for the Behali killings on the Assam-Arunachal border earlier in the year.
State home minister Tanga Byaling said Tani Land National Liberation Tigers had claimed to be behind the January 29 incident at Chauldhuwa under Behali reserve forest in Assam’s Sonitpur district where 15 people were killed allegedly by miscreants from Arunachal.
Byaling said the local people were not involved in the incident.
Asked as to why he has revealed the information, he said, “That is because no one from Assam has asked me about it. Everyone in Arunachal knew about it through the media,” he said.
In a telephone interview with The Telegraph from Itanagar this morning, the Arunachal minister said, “Assam had occupied more than 3,000 square km of our land. If it returned 50 per cent of this land, we would be grateful.”
“We have good relations with Assam as the state is our big brother. We always respect Assam and its people,” he said.
The Arunachal minister further claimed that during the formation of Arunachal Pradesh from the erstwhile North East Frontier Agency (NEFA), Assam had notified the land parcel as its own without any knowledge. Not only that, during that time there was no boundary commission and none had consulted Arunachal about demarcation of the boundary, he said.
Byaling also reacted to Union minister Kiren Rijiju’s remark that the Union home ministry will ensure implementation of the Supreme Court’s verdict on the inter-state border dispute. “The apex court will hear the case on September 12 and any future step will be taken collectively by all in the Arunachal Pradesh government after the verdict is given,” he said.
Rijiju, who recently visited the state, said in Itanagar that a solicitor general would be asked to pursue the border case in the Supreme Court so that a verdict could be received soon. “The home ministry will ensure its implementation,” the Union minister had said.
Rijiju had also said the Centre instructed both Assam and Arunachal governments to conduct joint patrolling on the border area so that no major incident takes place till the Supreme Court gives a verdict.
In 1989, Assam had filed a case in the Supreme Court against Arunachal Pradesh alleging encroachment of land and for demarcation of boundaries of the two states. The apex court then appointed a local commission for identification of the boundaries of Assam and Arunachal Pradesh.