The founder and editor-in-chief of Earshot, Abhijit Majumder, has schooled Marxist ‘historian’ Irfan Habib for his remark on the recent clashes reported from the Assam-Mizoram border. 6 Assam police personnel have lost their lives in the clashes while about 65 people, including civilians, were injured.
The left-leaning historian, taking a sarcastic jibe at PM Modi’s ‘New India’ vision, wrote that he had “never heard before that the armed forces of two neighbouring states kill each other in a deadly clash”.
Never heard before that the armed forces of two neighbouring states kill each other in a deadly clash. This is surely ‘New India’ for many of us.#AssamMizoramBorder— S lrfan Habib (@irfhabib) July 27, 2021
Reacting to Irfan Habib’s Tweet, the journalist reminded the ‘historian’ about the Nagaland-Assam clashes in 1985, in which over 41 people in Assam were murdered, including 28 Assam police personnel.
The journalist helped Irfan Habib reminiscence how the 1985 clash had taken place when the Congress party was at the helm of affairs, not only of both the states but also of the nation.
He mocked the ‘historian’, remarking that the 1985 clash had taken place during the days which people like him, considered India’s ‘Golden Age’ under the Nehru-Gandhi dynasty of Congress Party.
1985. Naga-Assam clashes. At least 41 killed, 28 of them police personnel. 27,000 made homeless.— Abhijit Majumder (@abhijitmajumder) July 27, 2021
Prime Minister: Rajiv Gandhi.
Assam CM: Hiteswar Saikia (Congress).
Nagaland CM: SC Jamir (UDF-P and then Congress).
For some of us, India’s ‘Golden Age’. https://t.co/LdPNstsTrs
In June 1985, a major flare-up at Merapani, also in Golaghat, left 41 persons dead on the Assam side. These included 28 Assam Police personnel. Assam had claimed that the attackers included Nagaland Police personnel.
Assam-Nagaland border issue
The border dispute between Assam and Nagaland had begun right at the inception of Nagaland state in 1963 after a 16-point agreement between Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru and the leaders of the Naga People’s Convention was signed in 1960.
The government of India pledged to return all Naga territories that had been annexed by Britain and made part of Assam, but this did not happen and Nagas allegedly encroached on vast swathes of land in the upper Assam districts of Sivasagar, Jorhat and Golaghat. Over 60,000 hectares of Assam forest land has been reportedly under the occupation of Nagaland, and this stretch has ever since, become the bone of contention for the two states.
Since then, violent clashes along the Assam-Nagaland border have become a regular feature, with major armed conflicts reported in 1968, 1979, 1985, 2007, 2014 and many more.
Like Assam has had border conflicts with Nagaland, it also has been facing similar conflicts with Mizoram. The recent clash was also a fallout of the altercation that occurred over land encroachment between the people of the two states.
The long-standing territorial dispute began when Mizoram used to be a district of Assam. In the colonial era, Mizoram was known as Lushai Hills and was demarcated from the Cachar plains in accordance with an 1875 notification. Subsequently, another notification was released by the British government in 1933 that drew a boundary between the Lushai Hills and Manipur. Mizoram wants the boundary demarcation to be followed as per the 1875 notification. In their defence, they claim that the Mizo society was not consulted prior to the 1933 notification. However, the Assam government follows the 1993 demarcation, which has become a bone of contention between the two States. Read more about the background of the Assam-Mizoram conflict here.