Firing in Desoi Valley during MLA's Visit Escalates Assam-Nagaland Border Dispute

Reported by

Sarup Sinha

Legal Data by

Anmol Gupta, Mukta Joshi

Edited by

Moushumi Sharma

Updated by

Published on

March 24, 2022

March 24, 2022

Updated on

March 24, 2022

Location of Conflict

Desoi Reserve Forest

Marian village (Assam), Vikuto village (Nagaland)

Jorhat

Reason or Cause of Conflict

Border Dispute

(

)

People Affected by Conflict

Land Area Affected (in Hectares)

ha

Starting Year

2021

State

Assam

Sector

Land Use

On May 27, 2021, shots were allegedly fired by unidentified Naga people during Assam MLA Rupjyoti Kurmi’s visit to a disputed site in the Desoi Valley Reserve Forest. The forest is located near Vikuto village in Nagaland’s Mokochung district. Kurmi, who represents Jorhat’s border constituency Mariani, reportedly went to the site after receiving complaints of land encroachment and construction of structures on the Assam side by Naga people.

“I had gone to the border area with around 45 people, including journalists, five police personnel and local people, on an inspection following reports of fresh encroachment. I saw around six-seven houses there. We were fired upon from the Nagaland side. Some 1,000 hectares have been encroached upon in the area. My demand is that they be evicted within 48 hours and status quo be maintained,” Kurmi was quoted as saying in news reports.

Vikuto village council and Naga officials, on the other hand, maintain that on May 24, about 25-30 armed Assam Police personnel visited the disputed site and announced that the land belonged to Assam. They also allegedly destroyed a farmhouse in the village and cut down about 500 areca nut trees. Kurmi claims that the Assam police fired in retaliation to firing from the Nagaland side first, as a safety measure.

Naga organisations, such as the United Naga Tribes Association of Border Areas and Northern Sumi Hoho, dismissed the allegations of encroachment by Nagas, claiming that it is Assam that has encroached upon Nagaland’s territory. “In reality, Assam has encroached upon the land of the Nagas. They have occupied more than two kilometres inside the territory of Nagaland,” the president of Northern Sumi Hoho Kughavi Chophy told the media.

No casualty was reported in the firing incident. But additional security forces were deployed on the border, and senior authorities from both sides resolved to work out a permanent solution. On July 31, 2021, Assam and Nagaland inked an agreement to disengage its police forces from Vikuto and Aosenden villages and to monitor the border using drone and satellite imagery.

Nagaland and Assam have been embroiled in several border rows ever since Nagaland was carved out of Assam’s Naga Hills district and declared a separate state in 1963. Land conflicts mainly occur along the disputed border belt between Assam’s Golaghat and Jorhat districts and Nagaland’s Wokha and Mokokchung districts. Desoi Valley falls in the same belt.

In 2021, several organisations from Assam briefly imposed an economic blockade in the area (Marian-Mokokchung Road) over a construction-related land dispute. All previous efforts by the Union government to resolve the border dispute have proven to be unsuccessful so far. A title suit filed by the Assam government for identification of the boundary and resolving of the border dispute with Nagaland has been pending in the Supreme Court since 1988.

Demand/Contention of the Affected Community

Demand for legal recognition of land rights

Other Demand/Contention of the Affected Community

Demand to stop land encroachment in disputed border areas

Region Classification

Rural

Type of Land

Common

Type of Common Land

Forest and Non-Forest, Non-Forest (Other than Grazing Land)

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

Point no. 6 [Boundaries between the territories of the Nagas and the State of Assam to be modified as per this provision, such that the Naga Hills District should be returned to the Naga Council]
16 Point Agreement between the Government of India and the Naga People’s Convention, dated July 26, 1960
Point no. 12-13 [The Naga Delegation raised the demand of consolidation of forest areas and Contiguous Naga Areas before the Union government]
Article 131 [The Supreme Court to have jurisdiction over disputes arising between two or more states]
Constitution of India, 1950
Article 131 [The Supreme Court to have jurisdiction over disputes arising between two or more states]
In September 2004, the Supreme Court appointed a Local Commission for identification of boundaries between Assam and Nagaland. Later in 2010, the court directed that mediation may also be explored between both states to resolve the dispute.
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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:

Land record discrepancies

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:

Physical attack

Whether criminal law was used against protestors:

Reported Details of the Violation:

Gunshots were allegedly fired by unidentified Naga people during Assam MLA Rupjyoti Kurmi’s visit to a disputed site in the Desoi Valley Reserve Forest.

Date of Violation

May 26, 2021

Location of Violation

Desoi Valley Reserve Forest

Nature of Protest

Campaigns (grassroots organisations/press releases/media)

Hunger strike

Government Departments Involved in the Conflict:

Office of Deputy Commissioner Mokochung, Nagaland; Office of Deputy Commissioner Jorhat, Assam; Assam Forest Department

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:

United Naga Tribes Association of Border Areas, Northern Sumi Hoho

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

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Reviewed By

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Updated By

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Edited By

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