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Border row: Meghalaya’s HBDRF says it won’t accept any piecemeal settlement

First Published: 2nd February, 2024 21:22 IST

The Hynniewtrep Border Disputes Redressal Forum or HBDRF retransfer Block I as it is in toto to Meghalaya.

The Hynniewtrep Border Disputes Redressal Forum or HBDRF has said that the Meghalaya Government should not allow any settlement of the border dispute with Assam by piecemeal.

Referring to the Block I (area under dispute between both states) the HBDRF has even asked the State government not to sign any agreement if the Assam government refuses to transfer back Block I to Meghalaya.

In a letter to Deputy Chief Minister in-charge Urban Affairs and Chairman of the Regional Committee for West Jaintia Hills Sniawbhalang Dhar, the HBDRF said, if the Assam government does not agree to re-transfer Block-I to Meghalaya, then Chief Minister Corad Sangma should not sign any agreement or MoU.

Briefing newspersons, Thomas Passah, a HBDRF member said, “Regarding the decision that was taken in the meeting held at Jowai on October 14, 2023, we the NGOs from the Jaintia Hills had been called for the meeting, the Village Heads were also present, the Doloi of the respective areas were also present in the meeting. During this meeting we had taken resolution- We reiterated that we totally oppose the notification dated April 13, 1951 issued by the Government of Assam back then. Because this notification has been issued and included the Block-I and Block-II areas to the North Cachar Hills district at that time without proper verification of the residents of the villages.

Secondly, we totally oppose if the govt is attempting to settle the boundary area, the border dispute in the Block 1 by piecemeal.

We have made our stand clear from the very beginning our final demand is that to retransfer Block I as it is in toto to Meghalaya.”

Passah said that the Forum also demanded that the report of the Regional Committee should be tabled in the Meghalaya legislative Assembly for discussion.

Meghalaya lays claim to Block I and Block II as both areas were transferred from the then United Khasi Jaintia Hills district of Assam in 1951 to the Karbi Anglong district by the then Governor of Assam for administrative convenience.

However, in 1972 when Meghalaya was carved out of Assam, they were not retransferred resulting in claims and counter-claims among the residents.

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