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Tussle over border

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OUR SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT   |   Delhi   |   Published 17.06.08, 12:00 AM

New Delhi, June 17: Arunachal Pradesh legislator Ngurang Pinch will file a case in the Supreme Court against two Assam government officials tomorrow, adding a fresh twist to the decades-old inter-state boundary dispute.

Pinch will move court on the basis of an FIR filed with Balijan police station, accusing Sonitpur deputy commissioner Komol Goswami and forest beat officer of Borgaon Bulbul Mili of beating up villagers in Arunachal Pradesh and razing their houses to evict them. The FIR, which also accuses the officials of attempting to rape three women, was filed by Tana Tabia, a villager who was evicted from the disputed area. The incidents took place on April 22, a week after Assam chief minister Tarun Gogoi visited Arunachal Pradesh.

Pinch is moving court with the permission of his government. He said he was taking the step because Gogoi had told him that the Assam government had not authorised the eviction.

The Congress MLA said he had spoken to Gogoi soon after the eviction, but the chief minister apparently told him that the officials had taken the steps on their own.

He said while the villagers were evicted from the Behali reserve forest area under the Forest Conservation Act, the land was later given to tea companies. “They are evicting people who have been living in the reserve forest from time immemorial under the Forest Act and then giving it to tea companies. They were removed because they did not respond to the officials’ demand for Rs 25,000,” Pinch alleged.

The MLA said Assam had violated the Supreme Court order on maintaining status quo on its boundary and was treating Arunachal Pradesh villagers worse than foreign nationals or refugees.



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