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Dispute at the border between Assam and Arunachal Pradesh claims two lives in Dhemaji district in Assam

Reported by

Emilo Yanthan

Legal Review by

Priyansha Chouhan, Anmol Gupta

Edited by

Radhika Chatterjee

Updated by

Updated by

Published on

August 1, 2023

August 3, 2023

Edited on

August 1, 2023

Sector

Land Use

Reason or Cause of Conflict

Border Dispute

Starting Year

2023

Land Area Affected (in Hectares)

ha

Households Affected by Conflict

People Affected by Conflict

State

Assam

Sector

Land Use

People Affected by Conflict

Households Affected by Conflict

Land Area Affected (in Hectares)

ha

Starting Year

2023

Location of Conflict

Dhemaji

Panbari

Dhemaji

Reason or Cause of Conflict

Border Dispute

Land Conflict Summary

In June 2023, two individuals were allegedly killed in Dhemaji when they went to the Panbari area in Assam, which is in close proximity to the state's border with its neighbour Arunachal Pradesh. They intended to plant saplings in observance of World Environment Day on June 5.

As per reports from the Assam police, the residents of Dhemaji initiated a plantation drive, with around seven villagers proceeding ahead to make preparations for the drive. It is claimed by the people based on the Assam side of the border that they were shot by miscreants from the Arunachal Pradesh side. To mark their protest against this incident, local residents organized a street blockade.

The police have arrested five individuals from Arunachal Pradesh's Lower Siang district and held at the Likabali Police station.

Assam CM Himanta Biswa Sarma stated, "There are some areas in Dhemaji where we are still in the process of resolving the border dispute. Generally, the neighbouring State does not attack us. But it is some people of that neighbouring State with the intention to occupy land who are found to be involved in such activities. Police will investigate the matter and appropriate action will be taken." 

Similarly Pema Khandu, Arunachal Pradesh CM also stated, "Assam and Arunachal Pradesh are already talking to amicably settle the border dispute. By and large, in most areas, the border disputes have been resolved. We have also issued directives to the people of both States not to fight and in case of any problems relating to the border, they should report to their respective deputy commissioners so that a peaceful situation is maintained."

Assam's Education Minister Ranoj Pegu said on Twitter, “I strongly condemn the act of violence at the Panbari area of the Asam-Arunachal border in Dhemaji, where one person named Boga Chutia of Borbila Chutiakari village of my constituency has been killed, and 3 persons - Monitu Gogoi, Puspa Gogoi and Akoni Gohain of Milonpur village have been injured.“

Arunachal Pradesh and Assam share an approximately 800 Kilometre border area, encompassing a total of 123 villages, spread across 12 districts in Arunachal Pradesh and 8 districts in Assam. The border issue between the two states dates back to 1954 when the North Eastern Frontier Agency (or NEFA) was created from erstwhile Assam. NEFA was later renamed as Arunachal Pradesh in 1972.

Various efforts have been made to settle the border dispute since then. In January 2022, Chief Ministers of both states began talks to arrive at an out of court settlement for the dispute.

In April 2022, they agreed to confine the dispute to 123 villages that had been claimed by Arunachal Pradesh before the Local Commission in 2006-07.

In July 2022, the Namsai declaration was signed by the two states in which the number of states claimed by Arunachal Pradesh was reduced from 123 to 86.

Fact Sheet

Demand/Contention of the Affected Community

Demand for legal recognition of land rights

Demand to retain/protect access to common land/resources

Other Demand/Contention of the Affected Community

Region Classification

Urban

Type of Land

Common

Type of Common Land

Forest

What was the action taken by the police?

Arrest

How many people did the police detain or arrest?

5

What is the current status of the detained/accused persons?

Currently under arrest

Did the person face any violence while in police custody?

Did the person face any violence while in police custody?

If any arrests took place, were the accused persons produced before a judge within 24 hours of the arrest?

If the accused was not produced before a magistrate within 24 hours, or not produced at all, what were the reasons?

Legislation under which the accused was charged

Indian Penal Code, 1860

Section 307 [Attempt to murder] , Section 34 [Common Intention to commit a crime], Section 302 [Offence of murder]

Was the accused person informed of their right to legal representation? Did the accused person have access to legal aid?

In cases where the accused person approached the court for bail, was bail granted?

Why was bail granted or rejected? If granted, what were the bail conditions and quantum of bail?

Were there any other notable irregularities that took place, or other significant details?

Details of sources (names of accused, names and numbers of any lawyers, names of any police officers contacted)

Status of Project

Original Project Deadline

Whether the Project has been Delayed

Significance of Land to Land Owners/Users

Agricultural land, Other Natural Resource extraction/dependence

Whether the project was stalled due to land conflict

Source/Reference

Total investment involved (in Crores):

Type of investment:

Year of Estimation

Page Number In Investment Document:

Has the Conflict Ended?

No

When did it end?

Why did the conflict end?

Legal Data

Categories of Legislations Involved in the Conflict

Legislations/Policies Involved

North-Eastern Areas (Reorganisation) Act, 1971
Section 7 and 8 [Constitution of the Union Territory of Arunachal Pradesh and Territories of the State of Assam]
Constitution of India, 1950
Article 131 [The Supreme Court shall have jurisdiction over conflicts between two or more states]
Indian Penal Code, 1860
Section 3 [Establishment of the State of Arunachal Pradesh comprising territories previously notified as Union Territory of Arunachal Pradesh]
State of Arunachal Pradesh Act, 1986
Section 3 [Establishment of the State of Arunachal Pradesh comprising territories previously notified as Union Territory of Arunachal Pradesh]
  1. 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.

    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.

  2. 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.

    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.

  3. 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.

    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.

  4. 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.

    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.

  5. 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.

    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.

  6. 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.

    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.

  7. 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.

    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

No

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:

Land record discrepancies

Lack of legal protection over land rights

Legal Status:

Out of Court

Status of Case In Court

Whether any adjudicatory body was approached

No

Name of the adjudicatory body

Name(s) of the Court(s)

Case Number

Main Reasoning/Decision of court

Major Human Rights Violations Related to the Conflict:

Killing

Whether criminal law was used against protestors:

No

Reported Details of the Violation:

Two residents of Dhemaji, Assam were shot and killed by people who were allegedly from Arunachal Pradesh. On the eve of World Environment Day, the victims were taking part in a sapling planting programme in the Panbari region near the contentious Assam-Arunachal border when the incident happened. Reportedly one died on the spot while the other succumbed to injury in the hospital. Additionally, two others were also injured.

Date of Violation

June 4, 2023

Location of Violation

Panbari

Additional Information

Nature of Protest

Blockades

Protests/marches

Complaints/petitions/letters/memorandums to officials

Government Departments Involved in the Conflict:

Government of Assam, Government of Arunachal Pradesh

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:

Information on the use of criminal law

What was the action taken by the police?

Arrest

How many people did the police detain or arrest?

5

What is the current status of the detained/accused persons?

Currently under arrest

Did the person face any violence while in police custody?

If any arrests took place, were the accused persons produced before a judge within 24 hours of the arrest?

If the accused was not produced before a magistrate within 24 hours, or not produced at all, what were the reasons?

Legislation under which the accused was charged

Indian Penal Code, 1860

Section 307 [Attempt to murder] , Section 34 [Common Intention to commit a crime], Section 302 [Offence of murder]

Was the accused person informed of their right to legal representation? Did the accused person have access to legal aid?

In cases where the accused person approached the court for bail, was bail granted?

Why was bail granted or rejected? If granted, what were the bail conditions and quantum of bail?

Were there any other notable irregularities that took place, or other significant details?

Resources

Resources Related to Conflict

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

Images

Image Credit:  

Image Credit:  

Video

In June 2023, two individuals were allegedly killed in Dhemaji when they went to the Panbari area in Assam, which is in close proximity to the state's border with its neighbour Arunachal Pradesh. They intended to plant saplings in observance of World Environment Day on June 5.

As per reports from the Assam police, the residents of Dhemaji initiated a plantation drive, with around seven villagers proceeding ahead to make preparations for the drive. It is claimed by the people based on the Assam side of the border that they were shot by miscreants from the Arunachal Pradesh side. To mark their protest against this incident, local residents organized a street blockade.

The police have arrested five individuals from Arunachal Pradesh's Lower Siang district and held at the Likabali Police station.

Assam CM Himanta Biswa Sarma stated, "There are some areas in Dhemaji where we are still in the process of resolving the border dispute. Generally, the neighbouring State does not attack us. But it is some people of that neighbouring State with the intention to occupy land who are found to be involved in such activities. Police will investigate the matter and appropriate action will be taken." 

Similarly Pema Khandu, Arunachal Pradesh CM also stated, "Assam and Arunachal Pradesh are already talking to amicably settle the border dispute. By and large, in most areas, the border disputes have been resolved. We have also issued directives to the people of both States not to fight and in case of any problems relating to the border, they should report to their respective deputy commissioners so that a peaceful situation is maintained."

Assam's Education Minister Ranoj Pegu said on Twitter, “I strongly condemn the act of violence at the Panbari area of the Asam-Arunachal border in Dhemaji, where one person named Boga Chutia of Borbila Chutiakari village of my constituency has been killed, and 3 persons - Monitu Gogoi, Puspa Gogoi and Akoni Gohain of Milonpur village have been injured.“

Arunachal Pradesh and Assam share an approximately 800 Kilometre border area, encompassing a total of 123 villages, spread across 12 districts in Arunachal Pradesh and 8 districts in Assam. The border issue between the two states dates back to 1954 when the North Eastern Frontier Agency (or NEFA) was created from erstwhile Assam. NEFA was later renamed as Arunachal Pradesh in 1972.

Various efforts have been made to settle the border dispute since then. In January 2022, Chief Ministers of both states began talks to arrive at an out of court settlement for the dispute.

In April 2022, they agreed to confine the dispute to 123 villages that had been claimed by Arunachal Pradesh before the Local Commission in 2006-07.

In July 2022, the Namsai declaration was signed by the two states in which the number of states claimed by Arunachal Pradesh was reduced from 123 to 86.

Demand/Contention of the Affected Community

Demand for legal recognition of land rights

Demand to retain/protect access to common land/resources

Other Demand/Contention of the Affected Community

Region Classification

Urban

Type of Land

Common

Type of Common Land

Forest

Total investment involved (in Crores):

Type of investment:

Year of Estimation

Page Number In Investment Document:

Has the Conflict Ended?

No

When did it end?

Why did the conflict end?

Categories of Legislations Involved in the Conflict

Legislations/Policies Involved

North-Eastern Areas (Reorganisation) Act, 1971
Section 7 and 8 [Constitution of the Union Territory of Arunachal Pradesh and Territories of the State of Assam]
Constitution of India, 1950
Article 131 [The Supreme Court shall have jurisdiction over conflicts between two or more states]
Indian Penal Code, 1860
Section 3 [Establishment of the State of Arunachal Pradesh comprising territories previously notified as Union Territory of Arunachal Pradesh]
State of Arunachal Pradesh Act, 1986
Section 3 [Establishment of the State of Arunachal Pradesh comprising territories previously notified as Union Territory of Arunachal Pradesh]
  1. 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.

    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.

  2. 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.

    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.

  3. 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.

    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.

  4. 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.

    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.

  5. 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.

    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.

  6. 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.

    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.

  7. 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.

    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

No

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:

Land record discrepancies

Lack of legal protection over land rights

Legal Status:

Out of Court

Status of Case In Court

Whether any adjudicatory body was approached

No

Name of the adjudicatory body

Name(s) of the Court(s)

Case Number

Main Reasoning/Decision of court

Major Human Rights Violations Related to the Conflict:

Killing

Whether criminal law was used against protestors:

No

Reported Details of the Violation:

Two residents of Dhemaji, Assam were shot and killed by people who were allegedly from Arunachal Pradesh. On the eve of World Environment Day, the victims were taking part in a sapling planting programme in the Panbari region near the contentious Assam-Arunachal border when the incident happened. Reportedly one died on the spot while the other succumbed to injury in the hospital. Additionally, two others were also injured.

Date of Violation

June 4, 2023

Location of Violation

Panbari

Nature of Protest

Blockades

Protests/marches

Complaints/petitions/letters/memorandums to officials

Government Departments Involved in the Conflict:

Government of Assam, Government of Arunachal Pradesh

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:  

Image Credit:  

Documented By

Text Link

Reviewed By

Text Link

Updated By

Text Link

Edited By

Text LinkLand Conflict Watch

Other Land Conflicts in Assam

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