Tension continues along Assam-Arunachal boundary

LAKHIMPUR: Despite the Chief Minister-level talks and inking of the historic Namsai Declaration on July 15 in order to end the Assam-Arunachal Pradesh border dispute, tension continues in the boundary of both States in the Lakhimpur district.

As part of fresh tension, firing incident once again took place in Ranga Reserve Forest under the district on Wednesday. This incident took place at No. 2 Bilgarh under Rampur Beat of the Reserve Forest.

As per report found regarding the incident, a gang of around 20 people from Arunachal Pradesh on Wednesday completely destroyed the vegetation of an area covering around 100 metres in length and 5 metres in breath at No. 2 Bilgarh. Rampur Beat Officer Banamali Narah along with three forest guards arrived at the spot. At that time the Beat Officer was on patrolling duty along with the forest guards. The Beat Officer then called upon the miscreants not to destroy the vegetation further. At this, some miscreants from Arunachal Pradesh shot at the forest officials to create havoc by taking advantage of the big trees of the Reserve Forest. In retaliation, the Assam forest guards also fired shots in the air to scare the miscreants. However, no casualty was reported during the incident. Finally, the team of Assam forest officials left the place by blasting cracker which is used to scare wild elephants, as reported by Forest Range Officer Harmoti Gunajit Talukdar

Later, receiving the information about the incident, Lakhimpur Divisional Forest Officer (DFO) Ashok Kumar Dev Choudhury, Forest Range Officer Gunajit Talukdar, along with the Lakhimpur district Border DSP and security personnel, arrived at the spot to take stock of the situation. By then the miscreants from Arunachal Pradesh had left the spot.

In this connection, while contacted, DFO Ashok Kumar Dev Choudhury told this correspondent that the miscreants destroyed the vegetation in such a way that a road could be constructed there.

“The situation is normal. There was no information about the destruction of vegetation in the place today. We have already sent a report to the district administration in this regard,” the DFO added.

Notably, taking advantage of the alleged lackadaisical attitude on the part of the State Government and Lakhimpur district administration regarding resolving the inter-State border dispute, encroachers from the neighbouring state of Arunachal Pradesh have left no stone unturned to create havoc in the Ranga Reserve Forest.

In the same place on November 23 last year, people across the border fired shots at Assam forest official who prevented them from destructing the Reserve Forest by cutting invaluable trees. On that day, the aggressors felled trees by using hand-operated machines. Then the same Beat Officer arrived at Jutuli Bagan accompanied by forest guards to prevent the aggressors from felling trees. As soon as the team of the forest officials arrived at the spot, the miscreants fired shots targeting them taking advantage of the jungle. It compelled the forest officials to fire in retaliation. However, no casualty was reported during that incident too. Later, the miscreants left the place. Regarding that incident, a case was filed by the Beat Officer at Silonibari Police Outpost.

Actually, the Assam-Arunachal Inter-State border dispute took an alarming twist in Lakhimpur district on November 20 last year, three days before the firing incident that took place on November 23. On that day, a section of aggressors-cum-encroachers from Arunachal Pradesh manhandled the DFO, Ashok Kumar Dev Choudhury at Dhemagar under the same Reserve Forest. Further, the aggressors held up the team of forest officials, including the DFO, at the spot for more than an hour and half. They allegedly misbehaved with the DFO and snatched his identity card. They even snatched away the rifle of the security personnel.

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