The village is located in a disputed area in Merapani with Assam claiming the land to be under its Golaghat district and Nagaland claiming it as part of the Wokha border
The Real Dispute
In 1866, the British created the Naga Hills by carving it out of the Assam Province. As a result of which it remained part of Assam until 1957. However, when Nagaland was given full statehood in 1963, as per the Nagaland States ACT 1962, it was not acceptable to the Nagas. The reason was that the borders of the newly reinstated Nagaland were according to the provisions of the 1925 Notification, which did not include some areas of Assam in it, but the Nagas believed the areas belonged to them historically.
Assam and Nagaland share a total of 512.2 Km of the border, which falls in the Jorahat, Golaghat, Sivsagar, Karbi Anglong, and Dima Hasao districts of Assam. These areas included in Assam form about 80% of Assam’s forest reserve. Out of all those areas, Golagahat is the most conflicting region, with Nagaland claiming that this area under the ‘occupation’ of Assam belongs entirely to Nagaland.
It has demanded that it wants the entire stretch of the Assam tract south of the Guwahati-Dibrugarh railways in the mentioned four districts be included in the “Greater Nagalim”.
The Dispute arose when, Nagalnd demanded the restoration of areas that were annexed by the British and transferred to the area of Assam province in 1862, but Assam Government refused such a demand. It stands to maintain the “constitutionally” carved boundary as decided on December 1, 1963, and Nagaland does not approve of this.
The Border Clashes
Consequently, border clashes began in the residential areas of the border region. The first recorded clash began in 1965, followed by 1968, 1975, and 1985 clashes. such clashes resulted in the infamous Merapani Incident which resulted in the death of 100 people in 1984.
Sajjan Bhangra, a resident of Merapani in Golaghat district says,” We are caught in this struggle for control between the two States and are deprived of even basic amenities. We don’t have any power connection, motorable roads, or potable water.”
Villages without basic amenities.
Merapni and several other villages in the dispute-ridden districts have found themselves without basic amenities like electricity and water for years, as these states are in a ‘Tug of War’ while both the states claim ownership over such areas. Both Nagaland and Assam governments have tried to provide electricity and water several times, with poles even being erected in such areas, however, since these areas come under the disputed land both governments have to take permission from their counterpart for any kind of developmental activity and each time, the other government puts up a service in the process.
It is the common people who are suffering at the hands of the government. The bone of contention is that people who live there belong to the constituency of Assam, but they reside in the disputed area of Nagaland. Assam has tried to put an end to the dispute, by filing a petition in the Supreme Court for demarcating the borders, but it has been long since any decision has been taken and thus, the unresolved decision fuels the dispute.