Assam-Meghalaya boundary dispute
Shillong, April 18: The Meghalaya Government on Wednesday asserted that the delimitation notifications issued by the then Government of Assam in respect of the constituencies of the then Khasi and Jaintia Hills Autonomous District Council, constitute a reliable source of ascertaining the territory of the then United Khasi and Jaintia Hills district.
“An examination of the delimitation notifications of 1952, 1966 and 1972 indicate that a large number of villages located within the areas of differences were part of the United Khasi and Jaintia Hills district and, therefore, should now form part of Meghalaya,” Chief Minister, Conrad K Sangma said.
Conrad was replying to a resolution on the boundary dispute between Meghalaya and Assam brought by lone Khun Hynniewtrep National Awakening Movement (KHNAM) legislator, Adelbert Nongrum.
The Chief Minister also pointed out that similarly, the de-limitation notification in respect of the constituencies of the Legislative Assembly issued during the period when Meghalaya was part of the composite State of Assam would throw light on the extent of territories of the then United Khasi and Jaintia and Garo Hills district.
According to him the status of villages in the areas of differences could be determined with reference to these notifications issued before the creation of the State of Meghalaya.
Conrad also informed the House that census operations during the relevant period were carried out with reference to police stations and these were administrative units within a district.
“Therefore, the Census records could also form one of the bases for determination of the status of villages located within the areas of differences,” the Chief Minister added.
He also said that a large number of villages located within the areas of differences with Assam formed part of the Khasi states, historically, and therefore, should now form part of Meghalaya.
“Even if for some specific administrative purposes, a few of these villages were placed under the control of the revenue districts of the erstwhile composite State of Assam, such villages continued to be part of the Khasi states for all other purposes. Historically, linguistically, and ethnically also they were more akin to the Khasi community,” Conrad said.
He also pointed out that when the Khasi states were included in the United Khasi and Jaintia Hills district as per the Sixth Schedule of the Constitution, these villages should fall within the newly created district even as he added that the administrative reasons of the pre-independence era were no longer relevant and the historical status of their belonging to the Khasi states should be recognised.
“If they were part of the Khasi states, then they should now form part of Meghalaya,” Conrad said.
The Chief Minister also said that the state government has been able to buttress the claims by presenting supporting documents including maps.