Meghalaya will not be forced into accepting proposals from Assam on the disputed border if they are too bitter to swallow, Chief Minister Conrad Sangma told the Assembly today.
“We are very clear in our mind that if there is going to be an area where we don’t agree and where Meghalaya says it is impossible for us to surrender, there is no question for us to agree,” the Chief Minister said while replying to a special motion on the prevailing border dispute between the two states.
Sangma also told the house that Assam is keen to officially resolve the dispute in areas where an agreement that is mutually acceptable to both can be reached.
“Those that we cannot agree on, let us keep to the side and we will discuss them when the time comes. But let us at least try to move forward,” the CM said.
Meghalaya and Assam have agreed to begin discussions on six areas of difference in the first phase of negotiations – Tarabari, Zizang, Hahim, Pilangkata-Khanapara, Boklapara and Ratacherra. These are smaller, less complicated areas, compared to the others, like Langpih, Khanduli, Psiar, Block 1 and Block 2.
On the demand of the opposition to conducted negotiations based on the documentation finalized when the Congress Part was in government, Sangma said that historical facts, documentation and land records are definitely going to play a very important role.
“But the other side of the story is that while we have our documents, Assam also has theirs and, therefore, the question arises whose documents will be more valid and that can be only decided either when we mutually agree on it or a court has to decide,” the Chief Minister added.
Mawsynram MLA Himalaya Shangpliang, of the Congress, was more belligerent, saying, “My mind is very clear on this issue – not an inch of land should be give to Assam. Rather, we should take all the land that is ethnically and culturally dominated by our people that is in Assam.”
A fellow Congress MLA, the Umroi representative George Lyngdoh, asked what the state government’s stance is to Assam’s statement that it will station 4,000 personnel on its borders.
Lyngdoh said that after this statement, Assam police showed aggression in Iongkhuli and Umlaper.
“The sudden reinforcement at the drop of a hat whenever there is any kind of developmental activity (initiated by Meghalaya) is an attempt to stoke fear in those villagers,” the legislator said.
He also asked what steps are being taken according to the Meghalaya Land Transfer Act against those people whose land is in Meghalaya but which has been registered in Assam.