Nagaland wants an amicable settlement of the long standing inter-state border dispute with Assam and has entrusted its border affairs department to work out modalities for discussions with the government of the neighbouring state, an official said on Tuesday.
The decision was taken during the first meeting of the Nagaland Legislative Assembly (NLA) select committee which was constituted in August to examine the border issue.
“The border dispute lies in the Supreme Court but we (Nagaland) are for settlement of the issue outside the court,” advisor for Border affairs Mhathung Yanthan told reporters after coming out of the meeting.
“We had discussions on the background and genesis of the problem to understand the entire issue,” he said about the meeting.
Mr Yanthan said that varied suggestions and opinions were given by the members, who also stressed on the need to have regular discussions before meeting the Assam government for amicable settlement of the issue.
For this the border affairs department has been entrusted to work out the modalities to settle the border issue by having proper discussion with the Assam government outside the court, he said.
Committee co-convener, T R Zeliang, who is also the leader of Naga People’s Front (NPF), said that the meeting deliberated on the past failures in respect of an amicable settlement between the two states.
In the past, Assam government had depended on the court, which cannot demarcate the boundary line between the two states, he said.
Mr Zeliang said Nagaland government has been attempting to settle the border dispute amicably with the involvement of the Ministry of Home Affairs in 2014 and 2015 during his tenure as chief minister but the then Assam chief minister Tarun Gogoi was not friendly with the Nagas, he said.
“Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma has a friendly relationship with Nagaland and in view of it we believe that both the states can come together to discuss the matter and settle it amicably,” he said.
The ruling Democratic Alliance of Nagaland is a state level coalition of political parties of which BJP is a part. Mr Sarma is the most important leader of the saffron party in the north east.
Mr Zeliang said that the select committee meeting during the day decided that both the states should form local bodies composed of indigenous people in the border areas to sit together at the advice of the state governments.
The meeting, he said, decided to propose to bring in a neutral person – either Union Home Minister Amit Shah or Prime Minister Narendra Modi – to review the past interim agreements signed between Nagaland and Assam.
“The interim agreements were one-sided and we hope to have a concrete decision between the two states soon,” Mr Zeliang added.
Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio is the convenor of the select committee, while Deputy Chief Minister Y Patton and Zeliang are its co-convenors. Nagaland ministers P Paiwang Konyak and Jacob Zhimomi, and NPF MLA Amenba Yaden besides Mr Yanthan, are its members.
Rajya Sabha MP from Nagaland K G Kenye and Lok Sabha MP Tokheho Yepthomi are special invitees and Commissioner Nagaland and secretary in-charge of border affairs, Rovilatuo Mor is the select committee secretary.
The committee will submit its report to the Assembly within three months from the date of its formation, which is August 5.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)