A tribal council in Meghalaya on Tuesday formed a panel to discuss ways to challenge a partial agreement on border disputes between the state and Assam in court, The Hindu reported.

The Khasi Hills Autonomous District Council’s coordination committee has representatives of five traditional Khasi states, or Himas, that have areas bordering Assam.

The five Himas are Hima Jirang, Hima Nongspung, Hima Mylliem, Hima Jyrngam and Hima Nonglang, according to East Mojo.

“We have entrusted the coordination committee to discuss the relevant issues and take necessary steps, and report to the boundary committee before they move the court,” said PN Syim, a member of the KHADC’s boundary committee.

Syiem said that the tribal council had been forced to seek the court’s intervention as the Meghalaya government is “adamant about not reviewing the boundary deal”. However, he did not state which court the committee would approach.

On March 29, Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma and his Meghalaya counterpart Conrad Sangma signed an agreement to end disputes in six of 12 locations along the border between the two states.

According to the agreement, Assam will control 18.51 square kilometres of the land and Meghalaya 18.28 square kilometres. At the time, Union Home Minister Amit Shah had said that 70% of the border dispute between the states has been resolved by the agreement.

On Wednesday, Sangma said that his government is willing to explain all aspects of the agreement to those who were raising objections, PTI reported. He claimed that some individual politicians, and not political parties that are part of the ruling government in Meghalaya, have called for a revision of the Memorandum of Understanding.

The chief minister said that the agreement had been signed in the presence of two ministers from the United Democratic Party and one each from the People’s Democratic Front and Hill State People’s Democratic Party.

Border disputes

Territorial disputes between the two states began when Meghalaya was carved out of Assam on January 21, 1972, under the Assam Reorganisation Act, 1971. Disputes arose at 12 locations after Meghalaya had challenged the law.

Assam is the only state with which Meghalaya shares an internal border.

In August, both states formed three regional committees each to deal with border disputes in six areas. Two rounds of talks were held between Sarma and Sangma, during which they had decided to resolve the dispute in a phased manner.