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Assam, Nagaland agree to withdraw forces from disputed border area

Assam, Nagaland agree to withdraw forces from disputed border area

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DIMAPUR: The governments of Assam and Nagaland on Saturday agreed to withdraw forces from the disputed border area in Dessoi Valley reserved forest, reports The NDTV.

The development comes days after a violent flare-up in Assam’s decades-old border dispute with Mizoram that left six policemen dead.

The decision to withdraw forces was taken after a meeting of Assam Chief Secretary Jishnu Barua with his Nagaland counterpart J Alam in Dimapur.

Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma termed the agreement a “historic step” and thanked Nagaland Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio.

“This is a historic step in our relations. My gratitude to HCM Sri @Neiphiu_Rio for working with #Assam in restoring peace on the border. Assam is committed to ensuring peace along all its borders & strives for social & economic prosperity of #NorthEast region,” he said.

According to a note signed by the Chief Secretaries and tweeted by Sarma, the meeting was held “with a view to de-escalating the tense situation” in two locations at Dessoi Valley Reserved Forest/Tsurangkong Valley due to the standoff between forces.

“Both sides agreed that in order to maintain peace and tranquility in the areas around Ao Senden village and Vikuto village as they are known in Nagaland and known as Jankhona Nala/Nagajankha and Compartment No 12 respectively in Assam, urgent and effective steps are required for defusing the standoff between the security forces of Nagaland and Assam,” the note said.

According to the note, both sides have decided the security personnel will move back to their base camps. The withdrawal of forces, it said, will begin immediately and shall be completed in the next 24 hours as far as possible. It further said both sides will monitor the area by using UAV and satellite imagery with a view to maintaining the status quo.

Assam shares borders with Nagaland in five districts—Charaideo, Sivasagar, Jorhat, Golaghat and Karbi Anglong. These areas have seen frequent clashes over border disputes for the past couple of decades.

The latest incident was reported this May when Rupjyoti Kurmi, then a Congress MLA in Assam, his security officers and others came under gunfire in the Dessoi Valley area.

Kurmi, who has now joined the BJP, had visited the area to check encroachment when they were fired at from the Nagaland side, an Assam police officer had then said. Kurmi had somehow managed to escape. Three mediapersons were injured in the incident.