NET News Desk
The old border dispute between Assam and Mizoram escalated recently as violence broke out on October 17 with at least four people injured in clashes between residents of the two states. One Mizoram resident is “critically injured” and battling for his life in hospital, said officials in the state.
With tension simmering in Assam and Mizoram border, the Mizoram government has called a cabinet meeting following which the state government has deployed security personnel in the violence hit areas.
As per reports, few huts and small shops were set ablaze following a territorial dispute between Assam and Mizoram residents. Four people also sustained severe injuries in the violent dispute on October 17. The incident occurred between the residents of Lailapur village in Cachar district in Assam and residents of Vairengte in Kolasib district of Mizoram.
On Sunday afternoon, Mizoram chief minister Zoramthanga convened an emergency cabinet meeting to discuss the border conflict. “I sincerely request everyone to maintain peace and to kindly not bypass any administrative proceeding,” he tweeted.
— Zoramthanga (@ZoramthangaCM) October 18, 2020
Meanwhile, the matter has been taken up with the Government of India. Assam CM Sarbananda Sonowal called his Mizoram counterpart Zoramthanga on the violent clash at inter-state border and agreed to maintain the law and order situation of the area. Both the ministers resolve to work together for maintaining brotherhood between both the states.
Talked to Mizoram CM Shri @ZoramthangaCM over phone about the incident at Assam-Mizoram border.
We agreed to maintain the law & order situation of the area so that peace returns immediately. We resolve to work together for maintaining brotherhood between both the states.
— Sarbananda Sonowal (@sarbanandsonwal) October 18, 2020
In a statement issued after the cabinet meeting, the Mizoram government announced security would be beefed up in the “affected border areas” and it was engaging with the government of Assam to resolve the issue. The Union home ministry had also been informed of the “transgressions committed by the government of Assam”, the statement said. The Mizoram government also claimed that since essential supplies had been choked off by a road blockade “organised by Assam” on inter-state highways, it was trying to source commodities like LPG cylinders from other states. Residents of Mizoram were requested not to hoard supplies.
Assam forest and environment minister Parimal Suklabaidya along with senior bureaucrats and police officers reached the spot on Sunday and took stock of the situation there. He ordered a high level enquiry under the direction of Cachar SP & DC and assured a solution to this inter-state border aggression at the earliest. “Cachar Police will ensure of a continuous protection to the people of Lailapur & I will be personally monitoring all developments related to this incident,” he tweeted.
Reportedly, as violence broke out both the sides have been blaming each other for the escalation, According to Mizo civil society groups, the clashes were triggered by stone pelting from Lailapur. Whereas, the Cachar district administration refuted such claims
The violence in Kolasib and Cachar comes around a week after a similar scuffle on the Assam-Mizoram border between the districts of Karimganj (Assam) and Mamit (Mizoram).
The decades-old border dispute between the two states resurfaced on October 9 when Mizoram alleged that officials of Karimganj district, forest department and Assam police set fire to a farmhouse owned by John Zolawma of Thinghlun village in Mizoram’s Mamit district along the inter-state border. Mizoram officials alleged that many plantations, including over 1,000 betel nut plants, were destroyed by Assam officials.
Following the dispute representatives of both Mizoram and Assam agreed to put the boundary issue before the higher authorities of their respective state governments in order to resolve the dispute at the earliest. The two parties resorted to strengthen inter-state coordination in order to avoid any standoff in the future. Terming the recent incident as unfortunate, Mamit District deputy commissioner Lalrozama said that it could jeopardise the relation between the two states, while his Assam counterpart Karimganj district deputy commissioner Anbamuthan MP said that the area falls under the jurisdiction of the Singla Forest Reserve in the Karimganj district, and asked them to respect their authority.
Three Mizoram districts of Kolasib, Aizawl and Mamit share about 123km long border with south Assam’s Cachar, Hailakandi and Karimganj districts. The border dispute between Mizoram and Assam is a long-pending issue which remains unresolved till date. The border issue has remained relatively calm despite the disputed nature, except a few instances in 1994, 2007 and 2018 when tensions flared up. But because of timely intervention by the Central Government, a major crisis was averted.
Political Parties and civil society organisations in Mizoram are now demanding tripartite talks and urged the state government to speak to the Centre so that the long-standing border dispute with Assam is resolved at the earliest. It has also urged the state government to take steps to ensure that the decision to resettle the displaced Bru people in Tripura’s Zampui area, traditionally inhabited by the Mizos, is withdrawn at the earliest.