Dullung Reserve Forest along Assam-Arunachal Pradesh border. (file image)

The Dullung Reserve Forest area in Lakhimpur district along Assam-Arunachal Pradesh border virtually turned into a battle ground after activists belonging to an organisation from the neighbouring state got into a scuffle with Assam police on Wednesday.

Situation remained tense in Rajgarh area of Dullungmukh in Lakhimpur district bordering Kamle district of neighbouring Arunachal Pradesh since February 3.

On February 3, Assam forest department personnel cleared forest land of about 3 bighas inside Dullung Reserve Forest to set up a Border Out Post (BOP).

However, this move by Assam forest department at Dullungmukh was allegedly obstructed by the people from Arunachal Pradesh.

People from Assam side alleged that Arunachal carried out encroachment up to 7 kms inside Assam’s boundary and began constructing a church on February 8.

A stretch of 7 km area from Rajgarh in Dullungmukh to Zili river has been considered as territory of Assam which is the bone of contention between the two neighbouring states.

Arunachal Pradesh has allegedly developed five villages in that disputed area with infrastructure development works.

Situation turned tense on Wednesday after Dollungmukh Area Youth Association’s (DAYA), an outfit from Arunachal Pradesh, set up a barricade to stop the Assam Forest officials from coming to the proposed BOP site at Rupahi in Dullungmukh.

Armed DAYA members got into a scuffle with police from Lakhimpur district as it tried to dismantle the barricade.

Local villagers and some organizations also blocked the road from Ghagar Nagar to Dullungmukh on Wednesday in Lakhimpur district.

On Thursday, Lakhimpur deputy commissioner (DC) Jeevan B and superintendent of police (SP) Rajveer and district forest department officials rushed to Rajgarh-Rupahi area and hold talks with their counterparts from Kamle district to diffuse tension.

The administration of Kamle district of Arunachal Pradesh assured to remove the structures build by them in the area.

Later the Lakhimpur DC, SP and other officials attended a meeting with locals and various organizations like AASU, AJYCP and AAGSU at the office of the Circle Officer, Kadam in Bogeenadi.

The Lakhimpur district administration has been on loggerheads with Arunachal Pradesh since more than a decade following various allegations and counter-allegations of encroachment on forest land on the inter-State border areas of the district.

In 2007, there was a firing incident by the police at the Dullung Reserve Forest area, followed by similar skirmishes in the Mynahjuli area of the border in 2009.

The Arunachal Pradesh government has been demanding 4051.10 sq km of land, which, they allege, was transferred to Assam following the Bordoloi Commission report in 1951.

Status quo has been maintained on the boundary areas of Assam and Arunachal as both the states moved the Supreme Court and the matter is sub-judice.

Farhana Ahmed

Farhana Ahmed is Northeast Now Correspondent in North Lakhimpur. She can be reached at: farhana.ahmed777@gmail.com