Altering Assam-Meghalaya boundary will require Parliament's nod: Garo villagers to Assam CM

The residents of the seven villages also said that they have “unanimously” decided to stay with Assam.



People of seven Garo villages living along the inter-state boundary between Assam and Meghalaya have refused to accept any solution to the border row between the two states stating that any act or attempt to alter the boundary will require parliamentary intervention.

In this regard, as many as 100 people of the said villages - Garo Mallangkona village of Salbari, Huhuapara, Goisanimara, Amagaon, Upper Tarabari, Tangkula and Balsuk - signed a memorandum on December 15.

“Parliament had passed the Assam Re-organisation (Meghalaya) Act 1969 and the Northeastern Areas Re-organisation Act 1971 to pave the way for the formation of Meghalaya within the state of Assam. The boundaries of Assam and Meghalaya have been well defined under subsection (i) and (ii) of Section 3 (i) of the Assam Reorganisation (Meghalaya) Act 1969. Therefore, any act or attempt to alter the boundary of the two states will require the intervention of the Parliament once more as per provision of Article 3 of the Constitution of India,” said the people of the villages in a memorandum submitted to Assam chief minister Himanta Biswa Sarma.

The villagers, in the memorandum, also added, “Neither the leaders of Assam nor the leaders of Meghalaya will ever agree to part an inch of their boundaries as already expressed by the political leaders of the two states.”

The residents of the seven villages also said that they have “unanimously” decided to stay with Assam.

Garo Villagers in Assam

“The sole purpose behind this decision is to maintain the age-old tradition, social security and tranquillity with the people of Assam, which are the quintessential prerequisites for the all-round socio-economic development of the people of the state,” read the memorandum. It also added that any attempt to change the status quo will greatly jeopardise the peaceful co-existence amongst the people of the state.

One of the main reasons behind the villagers opting to stay with Assam, the villagers said, are the permanent land pattas, which they claim, were given to them by the Assam government way before the state of Meghalaya was created.

“We are paying land revenue to the Assam government annually. The people of Meghalaya on the other side of the border won’t register our land documents in the Autonomous District Councils of Khasi Hills and Jayantia Hills (except for Garo Hills Autonomous District Council) due to the absence of a cadastral survey,” they said.

The villagers also advocated for the setting up of a satellite Autonomous Council for the Garos living in Kamrup, Goalpara, Nagaon, Karbi Anglong and Barak Valley districts to protect their identity and culture and provide autonomy in matters of framing laws on land, forests, public health, agriculture. Both the Garo and Rabha communities have been residing side by side in Goalpara and Kamrup district for ages. 

It may be mentioned that earlier, as many as 4.5 lakh Garo people living in various villages of Assam’s Kamrup and Goalpara districts opted to stay with the Assam, even as the regional committees between the two states continue their talks to settle the border conflict in six areas out of 12 areas of contention.

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