Assam and Arunachal Pradesh on Friday decided to dismantle bunkers set up by their police forces on either side of the border between them as a confidence building measure to resolve a violent boundary row.
“As agreed upon, both the state police would dismantle the bunkers and withdraw from their posts and instead carry out joint patrolling in the border areas,” Bhumidhar Barman, who is standing in for Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi, told journalists. Gogoi is reruperating following a surgery.
A group of lawmakers and officials from Arunachal Pradesh led by Finance Minister Setong Sena held a day-long meeting with their Assam counterparts in Guwahati to review recent incidents of violence along the border.
“We need to mutually resolve and sort out any differences and see that we remain as friendly neighbours,” Sena said.
Heavily armed National Socialist Council of Nagaland-Isak-Muivah (NSCN-IM) militants having bases in Arunachal Pradesh have been continuously raiding Saraipung village in eastern Sivasagar district, about 400 km from Assam's main city of Guwahati, the past 10 days.
The raids have been going on in the area with NSCN-IM militants crossing the unfenced border and launching attacks on Assamese villagers. Several homes were set ablaze, and the attackers also assaulted locals on the Assam side.
Trouble began Aug 16 when about 200 locals from Arunachal Pradesh descended on Saraipung and went on a rampage dismantling homes and setting ablaze a tea garden factory. They also attacked residents.
“We shall not allow any militant group to use our territory. Tough action would be taken,” the Arunachal Pradesh finance minister said.
Last week, NSCN-IM militants ambushed the convoy of Sivasagar district police chief Akhilesh Singh. Two of his security men were injured.
Border disputes are not new in the northeast where fights for territorial supremacy often lead to violent clashes.