ITANAGAR, Aug 19: In what appeared to be ‘disturbing’ fact, Union Law and Justice Minister Kiren Rijiju on Thursday disclosed that around 600 people have lost their lives in the North East because of the inter-state border clashes.
“Till date, about 600 people have been killed in border clashes in North East states. This is not a good sign, it is very saddening. There should not be any violence on inter-state border areas,” said Rijiju, who is embarking on a three-day ‘Jan Ashirwad Yatra’ from the State capital to eastern Arunachal covering six districts, told reporters at the State BJP head office here this morning.
“Central Government is always trying to see to it that every state of North Eastern India maintain status-quo on the boundary matter, as ordered by the Supreme Court, and there should not be any dispute in the region. Every state has its own responsibility to maintain status-quo and handle the boundary issue at local level,” Rijiju said when asked about the Centre’s stance over the vexed Assam-Arunachal boundary issue. He added, “For this, there is a mechanism, and everyone has to follow this mechanism.”
The Union Minister, while pointing out that the inter-state boundary row between Assam and Arunachal Pradesh was pending in the apex court, said that the Government of India wants the NE states to maintain status-quo.
“We are not enemies; we are all citizens of the same country. Why should we treat each other like an enemy for territorial matters? Whether it (boundary row) is between Arunachal and Assam, Assam-Mizoram or Assam-Nagaland, we all should maintain peace and harmony with the spirit of brotherhood,” he said.
Referring to recent violent border clashes between Assam and Mizoram, the Union Law Minister said, “Everyone should act in a balanced way and nobody should give any provocative statement. Why should we treat each other as enemies?”
“We are united; we are for India. United North East is for united India. If we fight among ourselves, we would be scattered. ‘United we stand, divided we fall’ – this formula has to be implemented every day,” Rijiju said.
Asked about the fate of Article 371H giving special provision with respect to the hilly state, the Union Minister said that “Arunachal Pradesh is constitutionally a fully protected state. No one can harm the identity, cultural and inherent rights of people of Arunachal Pradesh.”
“PM Narendra Modi has made Arunachal Pradesh even more secure by bringing in the Citizenship Amendment Act in the country, making it clear that except for Arunachal Pradesh’s indigenous tribal people (APSTs), no outsider/foreigner can become a ST (scheduled tribe) of Arunachal Pradesh,” he added.