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Skirmishes on Assam-Arunachal boundary leave Dullungmukh tense
CORRESPONDENT
 NORTH LAKHIMPUR, Feb 14 - A volatile situation has been prevailing after skirmishes on boundary dispute in Lakhimpur's Dullung Reserve Forest area in the last 24 hours.

The situation has remained tense in the Rajgarh area of Dullungmukh in Lakhimpur district bordering Kamle district of neighbouring Arunachal Pradesh since February 3. On February 3, the Assam Forest department personnel cleared forest land of about 3 bighas inside Dullung Reserve Forest to set up a Border Out Post (BOP) for the police. However, this move by the Assam Forest department at Dullungmukh was allegedly obstructed to by the people of Arunachal Pradesh. People from the Assam side alleged that Arunachal Pradesh had carried out encroachment up to 7 kms inside Assam’s boundary and began constructing a church on February 8.

It may be mentioned that a 7 km long stretch from Rajgarh in Dullungmukh to Zili river is the bone of contention between the two neighbouring states. It is alleged that Arunachal Pradesh has been developing five villages on that disputed area with infrastructure development works.

The situation turned tense on Wednesday as the Dullungmukh Area Youth Association’s (DAYA), an outfit from Arunachal Pradesh, set up a barricade to stop the Assam Forest officials from coming to the proposed BOP site at Rupahi in Dullungmukh. The carrying of guns and machetes by the DAYA members created tense moments in the area and this led to altercations and confrontations with police from Lakhimpur district as it tried to dismantle the barricade. However, the DAYA volunteers dispersed from the area following persuasion by the police. Local villagers and some organisations also blocked the road from Ghagar Nagar at NH-15 to Dullungmukh on Wednesday in Lakhimpur district.

On Thursday, the tense situation prompted the district administration in Lakhimpur to rush to the disputed boundary spot. Lakhimpur Deputy Commissioner Dr Jeevan B and Superintendent of Police Raj Veer and the district Forest department officials visited the Rajgarh-Rupahi area and held talks with their counterparts from Kamle district to defuse the situation. The administration of Kamle district of Arunachal Pradesh assured to remove the structures built by them in that area.

Later, the Lakhimpur DC, SP and other officials attended a meeting with the local public and various organisations like the AASU, AJYCP and AAGSU at the office of the Circle Officer, Kadam in Bogeenadi.

It may be recalled that the Lakhimpur district administration has been on loggerheads with Arunachal Pradesh since more than a decade following various allegations and counter-allegations of encroachment on forest land on the inter-State border areas of the district. In 2007, there was a firing incident by the police at the Dullung Reserve Forest area, followed by similar skirmishes in the Mynahjuli area of the border in 2009.

The Arunachal Pradesh Government has been demanding 4051.10 sq km of land, which, they allege, was transferred to Assam following the Bordoloi Commission report in 1951. Status quo has been maintained on the boundary areas of Assam and Arunachal as the dispute is sub-judice before the Supreme Court of India.

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