Assam groups start 33-hour fast, want Nagaland border settled

Guwahati, June 12 (IANS) The situation n the Assam-Nagaland border is still far from normal, and at least three pressure groups of Assam have launched a 33-hour hunger-strike demanding early settlement of the border dispute between the two states.

The All Assam Students Union (Aasu), the Asom Jatiyatabadi Yuva Chatra Parishad (AJYCP) and the Small Tea Growers' Association have launched a 33-hour hunger-strike at Geleki in Sivsagar district in Assam since Tuesday.

"There had been clashes between the people of Nagaland and Assam for quite some time, and we have been demanding that there should be a tripartite meeting involving the central government, the Assam government and the government of Nagaland to settle the border dispute. However, the government has not been showing any interest in this regard, despite several rounds of protests by local people," said an AJYCP leader who is participating in the hunger strike.

"The government must find a lasting solution to the problem. The state government has been a silent spectator to the whole issue," the AJYCP leader said.

"It is not the first time that the Naga miscreants have damaged tea plantations. The Naga miscreants keep coming to our side and destroying our plantations. Similar incidents have taken place in Golaghat and Jorhat in the past. The government must do something to stop the menace," said D. Bora of the Small Tea Growers' Association, who also participated in the strike.

The representatives of Assam and Nagaland governments are likely to meet in Jorhat town in Assam June 21 to find an amicable solution to the border dispute.

Tension gripped the Assam-Nagaland border, and three districts of Assam - Jorhat, Sivsagar and Golaghat - were hit after suspected Naga miscreants shot a labourer dead in Jorhat on June 3.

Again on June 5, the tension on Assam-Nagaland border escalated as suspected miscreants from Nagaland allegedly uprooted tea saplings at a tea plantation at Geleki in Sivsagar district of Assam that borders Nagaland, officials said.

The areas bordering Nagaland in the district of Jorhat have experienced such incidents in the past too, as there is no proper demarcation between the two states, they added.

While Nagaland blames the Assam government for violation of an agreement not to set up police outposts in the Disturbed Area Belt (DAB) on the border, Assam alleges that the neighbouring state has encroached upon its land.

Meanwhile, another organisation - Tai Ahom Yuva Parishad, a student wing of the Tai Ahom community - Wednesday blocked a highway at Jagun in Assam's Tinsukia district in protest encroachment of Assam's land by neighbouring Arunachal Pradesh.