India – The government has lost all “original documents” — comprising details of boundaries — of Nagaland, in a glaring instance of callous handling of vital public documents.
The Union home ministry and the Assam government, which originally kept the records of Nagaland, do not even have the valid “map” of the state which ironically is in the throes of violence sparked by the demand to carve out Greater Nagaland by extending the existing boundaries of the state.
The matter came as a shock to home ministry officials when it was brought to light for the first time by Nagaland during its submission before the Local Commission on the Assam-Nagaland Border here last week.
In response to the commission’s direction to submit before it the original documents of the state to settle boundary disputes, Nagaland said it was not in a position to give the written statement unless “its original documents which were purportedly lost by Assam” were returned.
Sources in the ministry said that though several important documents “in original” belonging to Nagaland were earlier submitted to the home ministry and were later passed on to Assam, nobody seemed to know what happened to those “original documents”.
The commission has now asked the home ministry and Survey of India to help trace Nagaland’s original documents and report the matter to it in the next meeting.
Confirming the commission’s direction, a senior home ministry official said the Survey of India office has been contacted to salvage the records. A meeting will take place next month when all the stakeholders — Centre, Nagaland and Assam — will try to find a way out if Survey of India fails to come out with some concrete records, he added.
“The final solution will be to reconstruct the boundaries all over again, which may not be an easy task,” the official said, adding the issue may have some far-reaching implications at a time when the ongoing peace talks with NSCN (IM) also hinges around settling the boundary dispute with Assam, Manipur and Arunachal Pradesh.
Areas dominated by Naga tribes remained split between Assam and the then North East Frontier Agency (NEFA) till 1963 when the statehood was finally granted to Nagaland.