Border dispute leaves 352 Nagaland voters with no booth

KOHIMA: A dispute over border territory has left the 352 voters registered with Ladigarh polling station, under Tamlu constituency in Longleng district, without a demarcated polling booth yet.
The only polling station designated by the Election Commission at Ladigarh has been occupied by Assam Police, who are refusing to vacate it, claiming that it falls within Assam territory.

The Nagaland chief electoral officer’s website, which has a map-based polling station search option on its portal, also shows that the Ladigarh polling station lies within Assam. The Assam-Nagaland border is marked with broken lines, indicating a border dispute between the two states.

“The issue has been cropping up every election since 2006. The deputy commissioner will send a proposal for an alternative site and we will work on that,” chief electoral officer Abhijit Sinha said. In 2013, before the last assembly election, civic authorities in Assam had refused to allow the EC to set up a polling station there.

The same problem came up during the 2014 Lok Sabha election as well. Each time, the EC had to set up the polling station at an alternative location.

Assam claims Ladigarh, which it calls Ladaigarh, is a part of Sivasagar district. Nagaland counters this and claims that, based on their records, the Ladigarh polling station exists well within its own territory at Government Lower Primary School, Geleky.

Assam, however, contends that there is no polling station named Ladigarh there, but at Geleky Jungle Borhola Lower Primary School in Assam’s Nazira constituency, with 750 voters

The two states share a 434-km common boundary and have been locked in a border dispute since 1963 after the hill state was carved out of Assam as a separate state.

 Assam claims Nagaland has encroached on 60,000 hectare (or 600 square kilometre) of its territory in Golaghat, Jorhat and Sivasagar districts. Nagaland, on the other hand, stakes a historical claim over these areas.
Several attempts by the Centre to resolve the dispute have not yielded any result so far.
In 1988, the Assam government filed a case in Supreme Court seeking its intervention but the final verdict is still pending. .

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