Itanagar, Sep 11: The people of Durpai village in Arunachal Pradesh’s Lower Siang district are less than happy. They flatly refuse to be part of Assam and want to continue being part of the picturesque state.
The village apparently has been included in Assam as part of a proposal to resolve the decades-long boundary dispute between the two Northeastern neighbours.
The residents of Durpai village under Kangku circle want to stay in Arunachal Pradesh and have threatened to launch an agitation if their demand is not met soon.
The villagers under the aegis of Durpai Village Development Committee (DVDC) demanded immediate rectification of the looping system and keeping Durpai where it is now.
Though the proposals have not yet been made public, the villagers said they have come to know about it from some officials.
On April 20 this year, Assam and the Arunachal Pradesh governments signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) at New Delhi in presence of Union Home Minister Amit Shah to resolve their border disputes. Regional committees were formed to look after the inter-state boundary issue.
DVDC President Reli Kena said, “According to the MoU, Durpai has been clubbed with another village in such a way that it will automatically fall in Assam.
He claimed that the villagers had got assurance from various quarters that their village would remain in Arunachal Pradesh.
“But now, it seems that every single assurance has been an eyewash. The state government should know that such acts will only create chaos in the area. How can the Durpai area have two owners, as stated under the looping system? Every single infrastructure in Durpai is built by the Arunachal Pradesh government,” Kena said.
The locals of Durpai are the real owners of the land and they will not go to Assam, he said.
“If our concern is not addressed, the villagers will write a letter with their blood to the Chief Minister, but never accept Durpai as part of Assam,” Kena said.
Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma and his Arunachal Pradesh counterpart Pema Khandu signed the MoU.
DVDC general secretary Regi Bui said the villagers would not allow the regional committee members to visit the place for the second round of ground verification.
“Durpai is one of the oldest villages of the undivided Siang district. We have sufficient evidence to claim our rights. Therefore, we cannot give an inch of land from the area to Assam,” he said.
It is stated that Kompek, Mingmang and Ruti villages were already marked for Assam during the Namsai Declaration.
Chief Ministers of the two states had signed an agreement to end border issues on July 15 last year too and decided to “restrict” the number of disputed villages to 86 instead of 123. It was called the Namsai Declaration after the name of the place where the meeting was held.
Bui asserted that the villagers will not allow the proposed construction of a hydropower plant in the district if their demand is not met.
An out-of-court settlement should benefit both sides without impacting anyone, he said.
Assam and Arunachal Pradesh share an 804.1-km-long border.
Arunachal Pradesh, which was made a union territory in 1972, has been maintaining that several forested tracts in the plains traditionally belonged to hill tribal chiefs and communities and these were “unilaterally” transferred to Assam earlier.
After Arunachal Pradesh achieved statehood in 1987, a tripartite committee was appointed, which recommended that certain territories be transferred from Assam to Arunachal Pradesh.
Assam contested this and the matter was in the Supreme Court for a long time. (PTI)