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Members of Mizo Zirlai Pawl carrying out a massive protest rally in Aizawl, Mizoram on Friday
Members of Mizo Zirlai Pawl carrying out a massive protest rally in Aizawl, Mizoram on Friday|EastMojo image 
MIZORAM

When students of Mizoram came out to protect state’s borders

Mizo Zirlai Pawl, a powerful students’ body, stages a massive protest rally over the govt’s failure to provide a positive outcome to the ongoing land dispute with Assam

Ezrela Dalidia Fanai

Ezrela Dalidia Fanai

Aizawl: Mizo Zirlai Pawl (MZP), Mizoram’s biggest and strongest students’ body, on Friday staged a massive protest rally in capital Aizawl as a clarion call to protect the state’s boundaries.

As per sources, the students staged a massive demonstration after the state government did not provide any positive result in a meeting held with the core committee of MZP to their demand of building a resting shed at the Inner Line Reserve Forest (ILRF) area before July 17 this year.

Speaking at the rally, MZP president L Ramdinliana Renthlei said that the state may have been facing border disputes with neighbouring Assam for a long time, but shockingly none of the elected representatives were interested to protect its boundaries.

Mizo Zirlai Pawl members take part in a protest rally in Aizawl, Mizoram on Friday
Mizo Zirlai Pawl members take part in a protest rally in Aizawl, Mizoram on Friday
EastMojo image

“As a result, we, the students of Mizoram have stepped up to protect the land of our forefathers,” he added.

Renthlei further informed that when MZP built up a resting shed along the border last year, members of the students’ body were brutally assaulted and fired upon by the Assam police and the state government did not take any action.

Renthlei strongly stressed that the blood and sweat shed by student leaders and patriots will not go in vain, and they shall continue till the 509-sq-miles of the Inner Line Reserve Forest area rightfully becomes a part of Mizoram.

In a move to push the government to reclaim the 1875 map of Mizoram, the current map of the state was also incinerated.

Students participating in the protest rally in Aizawl, Mizoram on Friday
Students participating in the protest rally in Aizawl, Mizoram on Friday
EastMojo image 

Over 7,000 students from 12 colleges within Aizawl city participated in the protest rally and passed a resolution on the following five points:

1. The government of Mizoram should take immediate action regarding the border didpute with Assam.

2. The state government should take massive efforts to ensure that the boundary notified in 1875 under the Bengal Eastern Frontier Regulation Act, 1873 be implemented immediately. The 509 sq m of the ILRF area under the control of the Assam department should be included within Mizoram boundary.

3. The current map of Mizoram is inaccurate. The state government should take immediate measures to use the 1875 map.

4. Under the Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe Prevention of Atrocities Act, the state government should take action against Assamese residents who have illegally put up in the 509 sq m of the ILRF area.

5. The youths of Mizoram will not stop untill they reclaim the rightful land of their forefathers.

On July 6, the Assam forest department reportedly occupied an old army cinema building at the Inner Line Reserve Forest (ILRF) area, breaching the status quo maintained by the governments of Assam and Mizoram. Verbal exchanges took place between the Assamese community and nearby residents of Vairengte town but it was soon resolved by the deputy commissioner of Kolasib district.

Following the incident, the MZP appealed the state government to take appropriate action against the Assam forest department to vacate the building before July 12, failing which, they had warned of staging a protest on July 19.

Earlier on February 27, 2018, the MZP built a resting shed for farmers at the disputed Inner Line Reserve Forest (ILRF) area but was dismantled by the Assam police and forest department in the same evening. Again when the students’ body tried to re-construct the shed on March 10, 2018, the Assam police lathicharged the protesting students and a few local journalists present there. Assam police also fired at the protesters and many were injured in the process. Following the incident, violent disputes came out to the fore between Assam and Mizoram.