GUWAHATI, Aug 24 � Normalcy has returned to Merapani area on the Assam-Nagaland border of Golaghat district of the State. The people of both the Gaud Basti village of Assam and Mikirang Basti village of Nagaland have arrived at a truce and the Gaud Basti people have returned to their tilling fields on the southern bank of the Selseli River on August 23. The area was facing a volatile situation for the past several days due to a land-related feud.
The anti-Nagaland economic blockades launched by seven Assam organisations, including the Asom Jatiyatabadi Yuba-Chatra Parishad (AJYCP), All Assam Tea Tribes Students� Union (AATTSA) and the Krishak Mukti Sangram Samiti (KMSS), since August 17 at Merapani and since August 18 at Rongajan, have also been withdrawn subsequently.
Disclosing this, Upper Assam Commissioner Syed Iftikhar Hussain told this correspondent that Minister Border of the State Siddique Ahmed, accompanied by him (Hussain) and Deputy Commissioner of Golaghat Sanjib Gohain Baruah, visited Merapani area last night and took stock of the ground reality there.
The Minster also talked to the local people and advised them to form an inter-state border peace committee to sort out the local problems and directed the district administration of Golaghat to facilitate this process.
The Upper Assam Commissioner suggested that a political level coordination committee, involving the local MLAs of both the states, should also be formed. The Minister accepted the suggestion and assured steps to implement it.
The Minister also assured the villagers of Merapani area to take up with the appropriate authorities the allegation against the neutral CRPF personnel posted in Merapani areas that they are not impartial.
He also assured budgetary provision for cultural exchange programmes between the two states to maintain peace and harmony in the border areas. The house burnt down on the Assam side during the period of acrimony between the two villages would also be rebuilt by the Golaghat district administration, he said and asked the Deputy Commissioner of Golaghat to submit proposals for development of infrastructure in the border areas.
It needs mention here that the situation in Merapani areas became tense following an incident of assault of the village council chairman of Mikirang Basti by one Gopal Gaud of Gaud Basti over the possession of a hillock on the southern bank of Selseli River some time back.
People of Gaud Basti have been tilling around 250 bighas of land on the southern bank of the river since 1971. This plot of land belongs to Assam and it constituted a part of the Doyang Reserved Forest.
Following the incident of assault of their village council chairman, The Mikirang Basti Village Council asked the Gaud Basti villagers not to till the said plot of land or else to pay tax to it. This led to the latest tension in Merapani areas.