Bhrigu Talukdar & Ezrela Daldia Fanai
July 27 was a day of uneasy calm for both Assam & Mizoram. The confrontation between Assam Police Personnel and Mizo Police forces clubbed with civilians had turned bloody just a day before. What had ensued was a full-blown shoot-out at Vairengte, lasting more than 30 mins, causing injury on both sides and killing 6 from Assam. (Un)Safe to say it was one of the bloodiest days of the decades-long Assam Mizoram border dispute.
Assam: CM Dr. Himanta Biswa Sarma’s Tough Talk
Chief Minister of Assam Dr. Himanta Biswa Sarma’s hands were full, on July 27, dealing with the aftermath of the Vairengte clashes.
He reached Silchar Medical College Hospital where the injured were admitted. The seriously injured have been shifted to GMCH for further treatment. Cachar SP who had a bullet embedded in his femur had to be airlifted to Maharastra.
CM Sarma then proceeded to lay floral wreaths on the corpses of dead Assam Police Jawans.
In a press conference after reviewing the situation, he announced that the dead cops’ families will get an ex-gratia amount of Rs 50 lakhs and the injured will be given 1 lakh each among others.
He blamed the police forces of Mizoram on indiscriminately opening fire using LMGs and other assault weapons which apart from taking lives injured more than 50 Assam police personnel.
On calls for harsh measures against Mizoram growing in Assam, he said “ Assam does not believe in an economic blockade. Assam doesn’t believe in taking revenge.”
However, he reiterated “Whatever may be the provocation, we will be there. We will not give our land.”
Interestingly CM Sarma said that three new battalions of Commandoes will be raised in Cachar, Karimganj, and Hailkandi, all the districts along the Mizoram border to safeguard the territorial integrity of Assam.
He also informed the media that Assam will file a suit in the supreme court seeking intervention and to ensure that no land especially the reserve forests is encroached upon.
The opposition Congress party has sent a seven-member fact-finding team to prepare a report on the incident. The team comprising of MPs Gaurav Gogoi and Pradyut Bordoloi along with five others shall visit the Assam Mizoram border on the 28th.
Mizoram: A United Front
On the other side, Mizoram Home Minister and his colleagues visited Vairengte. They spoke with the CRPF personnel and Mizo IR battalion stationed there.
Various political parties, Mizo Zirlai Pawl and JAC on Inner Line Reserve Forest Demand have issued a statement condemning the Assam Police for opening fire against the unarmed Mizo civilians and trying to overrun the police outpost at Vairengte.
The Mizo Zirlai Pawl praised Chief Minister Zoramthanga and Home Minister Lalchamliana for allowing Mizoram police to protect the unarmed Mizo civilians using all means necessary.
The JAC has made certain demands which include withdrawal of all the Assam Police Forces from within the 509 sq Miles of Mizoram which they claim is being illegally occupied.
“All illegal settlements and structures raised under the auspices of the Government of Assam and all illegal Bangladeshi immigrants settled therein should be vacated and relocated out of the 509 Sq Miles of the Inner Line Reserved Forest,” the statement said.
As a fallout of yesterday’s clash between Assam and Mizoram Zonet and LPS- two of the biggest cable operators of Mizoram have stopped the transmission of NE Live in the state claiming that it has been too biased in its coverage of the Assam-Mizoram border dispute.
The Mizoram Pradesh Youth Congress Committee (MPYCC) has issued a statement where they offered their deepest condolences to the bereaved families of the 6 Assam policemen who lost their lives during Monday’s clash inside Mizoram. They blame the unfortunate loss of lives on the actions of Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswas Sarma, who ordered more than 200 armed Assam police to enter Mizoram and forcibly overrunning the police outpost at the border town of Vairengte.