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Meghalaya High Court orders interim stay on boundary posts with Assam

Meghalaya High Court orders interim stay on boundary posts with Assam

Shillong: The Meghalaya High Court has ordered an interim stay on the erection of boundary posts between Assam and Meghalaya. It is in connection with the interstate border pact signed by the chief ministers of both states.

Justice H S Thangkhiew ordered the interim stay till the next hearing on February 6, 2023. The High Court has also directed the Union government to file an affidavit by the next hearing.

He was addressing a petition filed by the four traditional heads of Syiemship and Sirdarship, former independent native states of the Khasi ethnic groups that function under the Khasi Hills Autonomous District Council. They noted the MoU was signed without consulting them.

The chiefs were urging the court to set aside the MoU and claimed that it violated the provisions of the Sixth Schedule of the Constitution which deals with special provisions for the administration of tribal areas. According to the Sith Schedule, the Khasi Hills Autonomous District Council has been conferred powers on subjects such as land, water, soil, local customs, and culture.

"It is however understood that during the intervening period, no physical demarcation or erection of boundary posts on the ground, pursuant to the MoU dated 29.03.2022 shall be carried out, till the next date," said the order.

Meghalaya Chief Minister Conrad K Sangma and his counterpart Himanta Biswa Sarma in March signed an MoU for demarcating the border in at least six of the 12 contested locations. Home Minister Amit Shah had described the development as historic. The border dispute frequently raises tensions and causes violence between Meghalaya and Assam.

The dispute has been going on since 1972 when Meghalaya was carved out of Assam under the Assam Reorganisation Act, of 1971. An area of 36.79 square kilometres was challenged. According to the MoU, Assam will control 18.51 square kilometres of the land and Meghalaya 18.28 square kilometres. Meghalaya CM also said both states will conduct a survey with the Survey of India after which demarcation will take place.

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TAGS:AssamMeghalayaMeghalaya Assam border disputeMeghalaya high court
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