Mizoram, Assam agree to maintain peace along disputed border

Aizawl: The Mizoram and Assam governments on Thursday agreed to maintain peace and find a lasting solution to the century-old inter-state border dispute through bilateral discussions.

The representatives of both the governments held a meeting in Aizawl on Thursday, 10 days after the violent clash that took place near Vairengte, the nearest border town in Mizoram, on July 26.

Assam’s Border Area Development Minister Atul Bora, who headed the Assam delegation, told reporters that both sides have agreed to maintain peace along the inter-state border.

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“Both states have welcomed deployment of neutral forces in the disputed areas and agreed not to send their respective police for patrolling, domination, enforcement or fresh deployment of state forces in any of the areas where confrontation and conflict has taken place between the two states in recent times,” he said.

He said the Assam government would revoke its travel advisory and take steps for resumption of traffic movement between the two neighbouring states.

Mizoram has been cut off from rest of the country due to the alleged economic blockade in Assam’s Barak Valley region after the violent clash on July 26, disrupting all supplies to the hilly state. 

Meanwhile, a joint statement signed by the state representatives said that both state governments have agreed to take all necessary measures to promote, preserve and maintain peace and harmony among people living in Assam and Mizoram, particularly those living along the border.

Both the governments also agreed to work on initiatives taken by the Union Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) and chief ministers of both states to de-escalate the prevailing tension, the joint statement said. 

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Mizoram delegation was headed by Home Minister Lalchamliana and included minister for land, revenue and settlement Lalruatkima and Home Secretary Vanlalngaihsaka.

In one of the bloodiest clashes over an inter-state boundary dispute in the country after 1985, at least seven people, including six policemen from Assam, lost their lives and several others injured from Mizoram and Assam, when police forces of both states exchanged fire for about 45 minutes near Vairengte on July 26.

While Mizoram alleged that the Assam police intruded into its territory, captured its border outpost and first fired bullets at civilians and police personnel, Assam claimed that Mizoram forces, assisted by civilians armed with weapons, opened fire first by using light machine guns.

In 1985, at least 41 people, including 28 cops from Assam, were killed in a fierce gunfight between forces of Assam and Nagaland that lasted for about 4 hours over a boundary dispute at Merapani.

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