Aizawl: Mizoram home minister Lalchamliana on Tuesday said the state government is making efforts to drive out Assam Police forces camping at Buarchep and Aitlang areas in Kolasib district along the state border with Assam. 

In a written reply, the home minister said that it is not convenient to use force to drive away from the police forces. 

“The government has a plan to drive away the Assam police camping at Aitlang and Buarchep areas. But the neighbouring forces are still camping at the areas because the Mizoram government could not use force,” Lalchamliana said while replying to a written question from Lalchhuanthanga of opposition Zoram People’s Movement (ZPM).

Mizoram shares about 164.6 km inter-state boundary with Assam. 

The boundary dispute between the two Northeastern states is a long-standing issue that has been unresolved to date. While Mizoram claimed the inner line reserve forest notified in 1875 the actual boundary, Assam contended with the 1933 notification.

Mizoram was a district of Assam before it was carved out as a separate Union Territory in 1971.

It attained statehood in 1987 after 20 years of insurgency movement spearheaded by the erstwhile underground Mizo National Front (MNF), which later turned into a political party and is now the ruling party in the state.MNF is a member of BJP led North East Democratic Alliance (NEDA) and an ally of the NDA at the Centre, while the BJP is currently in power in Assam.

The border dispute between the neighbouring states cropped up as far back as 1994 but has flared up more frequently since 2018. About 60 people from Mizoram were injured in a standoff in March 2018 when functionaries of the state’s apex student body Mizo Zirlai Pawl (MZP) attempted to construct a resting shed at Zophai on the disputed land.

In October last year, about 20 bamboo stalls erected by residents of Lailapur in Assam along the National Highway-306 near Vairengte, the nearest border town in Mizoram, were torched during a clash between residents on either side of the border. This had resulted in the imposition of economic blockade by locals of Lailapur for nearly 30 days disrupting all supplies to Mizoram. The border tension was diffused in November that year with the intervention of the Centre, which deployed neutral forces on either side of the border

The present border standoff started on June 29 when personnel of Assam police allegedly entered and captured the Aitlang area about 5 km from Vairengte.

The border dispute turned “ugly” on July 26 when police forces of the two states engaged in a gunfight leaving six cops and a civilian from Assam dead and more than 60 people injured from both states.

The economic blockade imposed on NH-306 in the Dholai-Lailapur area thereafter was lifted on August 7.

Before this, both the states had held a ministerial-level meeting in Aizawl on August 5, which agreed to maintain peace and amicably resolve the boundary dispute through dialogue. 

However, a few incidents, which occurred along the inter-state border after the August meeting, has made the situation tense till today. 

Highly placed sources said that both the states continue to deploy their police forces in the border areas despite the deployment of neutral forces.

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