Assam-Mizoram Discord Not New, Several States Have Long-Pending Disputes with Neighbours. A Quick Look

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Tension flared along the Assam-Mizoram border on Monday over an ongoing land dispute between the two states resulting in violence and vandalism. At least five Assam Police personnel were killed while defending the “constitutional boundary” of the state with Mizoram and more than 60 people injured, including an SP, as the festering border dispute between the two northeastern states erupted into a bloody conflict on Monday, officials said.

Land dispute between the states is not new. India has witnessed several instances of discord due to land boundary, rivers, water sharing, etc. with the latest dispute between Assam and Mizoram, here are some of the other prominent disputes between states.

Cauvery water sharing dispute

The Cauvery river water sharing is a long dispute among Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Puducherry and Kerala. The dispute dates back to 1892 when the region was in the Presidency of Madras, which was under British rule, and the princely state of Mysore (present Karnataka) over the latter’s proposed move to build irrigation systems on the Cauvery.

In Karnataka, the river is a lifeline for farmers while it also provides drinking water to cities such as Bengaluru. However, the dispute between the states is over the river water sharing. Though the Cauvery Water Disputes Tribunal has allocated water share to each of the States, the surplus water is yet to allocated and remains a source of dispute.

Maharashtra and Karnataka

Maharashtra staked claims over 7,000 sq km area along the border with Karnataka, with 814 villages in Belagavi (Belgaum), Uttara Kannada, Bidar, and Gulbarga, and the towns of Belagavi, Karwar, and Nippani. According to Maharashtra, these villages are predominantly Marathi-speaking, and therefore should be merged with Maharashtra. The dispute dates back to 1956 during the reorganisation of states along linguistic and administrative lines.

Recently, the dispute is back in news as Maharashtra CM Uddhav Thackeray in January said that his government was committed to incorporate those areas in the state.

Assam and Mizoram

The situation along the Mizoram-Assam border has been on the boil since June-end when Assam Police allegedly took control over an area known as ‘Aitlang hnar’ about 5km from Vairengte, accusing the neighbouring state of encroaching on its territory. Three districts of Mizoram — Aizawl, Kolasib and Mamit — share about a 164.6 km border with Assam’s Cachar,Karimganj and Hailakandi districts.

The border dispute between the two neighbouring states is a long pending issue. Several dialogues held since 1995 to resolve the dispute yielded little result. After a massive tussle in 2018, the border row resurfaced in August last year. The matter further escalated in February but was defused after a series of parleys with the intervention of the Centre.

Andhra Pradesh and Odisha

The border dispute between Andhra and Odisha over a group of villages in Kotia under Koraput district is yet to be resolved. The region, once a Maoist hotbed which still reports sporadic incidents of violence, is also rich in mineral resources like gold, platinum, manganese, bauxite, graphite and limestone. The village belonged to Madras Presidency before Odisha was created and Andhra Pradesh used to be also a part of the province. The Madras government demarcated the two states, but the exercise left out the 21 villages now under dispute. The matter is pending in the Supreme Court.

Chhattisgarh and Odisha

Construction of a road in a village on Odisha-Chhattisgarh border has sparked a controversy after it was found that the construction work was carried out by Chhattisgarh officials in Odisha land. Akharpali is a revenue village in Malkangiri district at a distance of just 1 km from Mangipali-Darbha village in Sukma district of Chhattisgarh which is the borderline between the two states. The road construction was a controversy between the two states.

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