Assam-Meghalaya Border Dispute over Langpih Remains Unresolved amdist Police Firing, Centre Intervenes

Reported by

Abdul Kalam Azad

Published on

October 22, 2016

October 22, 2016

Updated on

October 22, 2016

Location of Conflict

Langpih

West Khasi Hills

Reason or Cause of Conflict

Border Dispute

(

)

People Affected by Conflict

330

Land Area Affected (in Hectares)

ha

Starting Year

1950

State

Meghalaya

Sector

Land Use

Langpih is one of the most underdeveloped villages bordering Kamrup district in Assam and West Khasi Hills district in Meghalaya. The two adjoining states have been claiming ownership of the village for more than half a century. Former Meghalaya chief minister and head of the state's United Democratic Party, Donkupar Roy, had claimed that the village belongs to Meghalaya. He explained that the the British had annexed Assam in colonial times and the village was clubbed with Kamrup district for administrative purpose. But when India achieved independence, the village was tagged with West Garo Hills district (in presentday Meghalaya) after it was carved out of Assam in 1972, said Roy. The Meghalaya government claims that the problem started when the Assam government set up a police station in Langpih. The conflict over Langpih can be traced back to 1974 when the Meghalaya police forcefully evicted people from the Nepali community from their homes and grazing land. The Nepalis, who were mostly engaged in animal husbandry, approached Assam Police for justice. Assam Police went to the village to investigate the matter, which has remained escalated since. The Meghalaya government again claimed that Assam had encroached the village in 1979. In 1988, the matter reached the Parliament, where the Assam government alleged that Meghalaya wanted to create a new legislative constituency by taking over areas of Assam, including Lingpih. The situation worsened after May 14, 2010, when clashes broke out between the Nepali, Khasi and Garo communities. Assam police fired upon the people, wherein four Khasi people were killed and at least 18 others were injured. In 2012, hundreds from the Khasi community sat on a hunger strike. Officials and police force were deployed to defuse the situation. But the Khasi people formed a human chain to prevent government officials from Assam from entering the area. Assam and Meghalaya are embroiled in 12 other land disputes along the border. While Assam MLA Nandita Das claims that Meghalaya has encroached upon 14 villages in Assam, Meghalaya claims that the official bungalow of the Assam chief minister at Koinadhara in Guwahati is built on land owned by Meghalaya. Former Revenue Minister of Assam Bhumidhar Barman, on the other hand, had claimed that it was Meghalaya that had encroached upon 314 bighas of land in Assam. The Union government has tried to solve the dispute through several consultations but to no avail. Since 2016, the issue has been raised time and again in the Legislative Assembly of Assam, but both the states have so far failed to resolve it. In March 2020, the conflict escalated after Assam Police allegedly attempted to set up a border outpost in Umwali in Langpih, which created resentment among the local Khasi population. Following this, a BJP MLA from Meghalaya sought Union Home Minister Amit Shah's help in October 2020 to resolve the border dispute. Deliberations on the matter are ongoing between the two states.

Demand/Contention of the Affected Community

Demand for legal recognition of land rights

Other Demand/Contention of the Affected Community

Resolution of border dispute

Region Classification

Rural

Type of Land

Both

Type of Common Land

Forest and Non-Forest

Total investment involved (in Crores):

Type of investment:

Year of Estimation

Page Number In Investment Document:

Has the Conflict Ended?

When did it end?

Why did the conflict end?

Categories of Legislations Involved in the Conflict

Constitutional Law

Legislations/Policies Involved

Constitution of India, 1950
Article 131 [Exclusive Jurisdiction of Supreme Court to deal with inter-state disputes]
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    Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Suspendisse varius enim in eros elementum tristique. Duis cursus, mi quis viverra ornare, eros dolor interdum nulla, ut commodo diam libero vitae erat. Aenean faucibus nibh et justo cursus id rutrum lorem imperdiet. Nunc ut sem vitae risus tristique posuere.

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    Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Suspendisse varius enim in eros elementum tristique. Duis cursus, mi quis viverra ornare, eros dolor interdum nulla, ut commodo diam libero vitae erat. Aenean faucibus nibh et justo cursus id rutrum lorem imperdiet. Nunc ut sem vitae risus tristique posuere.

Whether claims/objections were made as per procedure in the relevant statute

What was the claim(s)/objection(s) raised by the community? What was the decision of the concerned government department?

Legal Processes and Loopholes Enabling the Conflict:

Forced evictions/dispossession of land

Lack of legal protection over land rights

Legal Status:

Out of Court

Status of Case In Court

Whether any adjudicatory body was approached

What was the Decision of the Concerned Government Department?

Name of the adjudicatory body

Name(s) of the Court(s)

Case Number

Major Human Rights Violations Related to the Conflict:

Killing

Displacement

Whether criminal law was used against protestors

Reported Details of the Violation:

Four Khasi people were killed in police firing to control clashes between the Nepali community and Khasi and Garo communities. Apart from the deaths, at least 18 people were injured in the clash. In 2012, 14 people sat on a hunger strike in memory of the people who got killed in 2010.

Date of Violation

May 14, 2010

Location of Violation

Langpih village

Nature of Protest

Protests/marches

Hunger strike

Complaints/petitions/letters/memorandums to officials

Government Departments Involved in the Conflict:

Government of Assam, Government of Meghalaya

PSUs Involved in the Conflict:

Did LCW Approach Government Authorities for Comments?

Name, Designation and Comment of the Government Authorities Approached

Corporate Parties Involved in the Conflict:

Did LCW Approach Corporate Parties for Comments?

Communities/Local Organisations in the Conflict:

Resources Related to Conflict

  • News Articles Related to the Conflict:
  • Documents Related to the Conflict:
  • Links Related to the Conflict:

Image Credit:  

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Documented By

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Reviewed By

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Updated By

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Edited By

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