ITANAGAR, 21 Jun: Days after the Assam-Arunachal boundary row was reignited after the Border Roads Organization (BRO) deliberately depicted Kimin as ‘Bilgarh’ in Assam during Defence Minister Rajnath Singh’s inauguration of the Kimin-Potin road work at the ITBP centre in Kimin on 17 June, Chief Minister Pema Khandu said he has proposed to his Assam counterpart to resolve the vexed boundary issue permanently outside the court.
The Assam-Arunachal boundary dispute is sub judice in the Supreme Court.
Speaking to media persons on the sideline of an ambulance flagging-off ceremony at the civil secretariat here on Monday, Khandu said: “I have made an offer to Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sharma to resolve the Assam-Arunachal boundary issue out of court. The Assam chief minister has agreed to the proposal, and he assured that he would study it thoroughly before holding a CM-to-CM meeting to resolve the boundary issue.”
“We are determined to resolve the boundary issue, since Assam and Arunachal both have a BJP government,” the CM said.
On being asked why he did not comment on or react to the covering up of Arunachal’s name with white paste during the inaugural function, Khandu said that the state government got information about the inauguration ceremony very late.
However, he said that, after he was apprised of the matter by the public of Kimin, he took the matter seriously and briefed the defence minister through union MoS Kiren Rijiju.
“The state government got information late about the inauguration of the road project at Kimin. The public of Kimin informed us about such activities and about Arunachal Pradesh’s name being covered with white paste. I took it seriously and briefed union MoS Kiren Rijiju about it, as he was coming on the same flight with Rajnath Singhji. We have boundary issue with Assam since the 1950s. I briefed Rajnath Singhji through Kiren,” he said.
“The defence minister did not mention in his speech that the programme was being held in Assam. However, it was unfortunate on the part of the Border Roads Organization that it created the misunderstanding. We have called the chief engineer concerned to sort out the issue,” the CM added, and appealed to the people of Arunachal not to drag the issue.
The raksha mantri office’s (RMO) official Twitter handle had explicitly mentioned Kimin as being in Assam. In its tweet, the RMO stated, “Raksha Mantri Shri Rajnath Singh at the inaugural ceremony of border road organization. The programme was held in Assam.”
The incident has been widely condemned by many organizations, and also by the BJP’s own MP Tapir Gao.