Kolasib Assam Mizoram
Kolasib, Mizoram, along the Assam border (File photo)

The situation along the Mizoram-Assam border is still tense as both states have beefed up security on the border areas to prevent encroachment from either side, a senior police officer said.

Mizoram Deputy Inspector General of Police (Northern Range) Lalbiakthanga Khiangte said that the situation is very volatile as both forces can engage in arm conflict at any time if one party try to encroach on the other.

He said that the two belligerent states have garrisoned their forces on either side of the borders to prevent encroachment.

“Our forces are ready to strike (open fire) at any time if Assam side makes any further encroachment on Mizoram’s territory,” Khiangte, who is currently camping at Vairengte told EastMojo.

He denounced the allegation that the Mizos encroached 6 km inside Assam.

“It was Assam, which encroached on the Mizoram territory at Phainuam’s Buarchep village near Vairengte by constructing a road. The land has been occupied by the Mizos for decades,” he said.

The senior police officer also denied that grenades were hurled towards Assam police by people from Mizoram.

“There was no any blast from our side. But we heard some sounds of explosion from Assam side for which we have registered a case as it is believed to be an intimidation to panic the people residing in border villages,” he said.

Also Read: Mizoram farmers suffer the brunt of Assam-Mizoram border tensions

Reacting to the allegation of hurling grenade to Assam, Khiangte said “It was baseless and just fabricated to gain sympathy from others.”

Earlier, state chief secretary Lalnunmawia Chuaungo had informed the home ministry that the allegations made by Assam that miscreants from Mizoram encroached Assam territory were completely false.

In a letter sent to an additional secretary (NE), Ministry of Home Affairs recently, Chuaungo had said that a few farmers of Buarchep village in Mizoram’s Kolasib district were pushed and harassed and their crops destroyed and a new road constructed with excavators by Assam police and officials backed by civilians.

The Mizo farmers put up small barricades to protect their lands and crops, which were pulled down and destroyed by Assam officials, he alleged.

On July 12, Mizoram home minister Lalchamliana had demanded compensation from the Assam government for the damages it had caused to the Mizo farmers.

Though Mizoram was reluctant to be the first to initiate activity, it will take any measure to protect its territory at any cost, the home minister had said.

Meanwhile, a top home department official said that Assam can’t charge encroachment allegations on Mizoram as both the state have a different opinion on inter-state boundaries.

While Mizoram accepted the 509 square-mile stretches of the inner-line reserve forest notified in 1875 under the Bengal Eastern Frontier Regulation of 1873 as its actual boundary the Assam side agreed with the constitutional map drawn in 1933, the official said.

She said that the 1933 map was an imposed boundary as Mizoram was not consulted and the boundary was not verified by both the states on the ground at the time of drawing the map.

She said that as per the tripartite talks held under the Union Home Ministry after a flare-up in 2018, both parties agreed to maintain the status quo on the disputed areas.

However, Assam has always violated the status quo and erected structures or made activities along the inter-state border, which escalated tension between the two neighbouring states, she said.

“If Assam accuses us of encroaching on its land, we can also accuse it of encroaching on our land as the vast tract of inner line reserve forest are occupied by Assam,” the official said the condition of anonymity.

She also said the area where claimed by Assam have been occupied by the Mizos for more than a century.

Mizoram shares about a 164.4 km long border with Assam.

The present border stand-off took place on June 29 when Assam police allegedly encroached on Aitlang hnar, about 5 km from Vairengte, the nearest village from Assam.

The situation was aggravated on July 10 when Assam Police and officials allegedly destroyed plantations at Buarchep village in Phainuam area in Kolasib district by constructing road, the day after chief secretary level-talks under the home ministry ended inconclusively.

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