Aizawl: The Mizoram government has partly halted construction activities along the state border with neighbouring Assam following the Centre’s fresh directive to maintain status quo along the inter-state boundary, a senior official in the state hope department said on Friday.

The Mizoram government has been constructing roads and bridges in order to link policy duty posts and camps in the border areas after the July standoff, which led to the death of seven people and injuries to scores of people.

The senior official said on condition of anonymity that the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) had sent a letter to the Mizoram government on November 6, directing it to maintain the status quo on the disputed areas along the inter-state border.

Following the Centre’s directive, the state home department shot off letters to district administrations directing them to maintain the status quo on the disputed areas and to refrain from undertaking construction activities without mutual consent, he said.

Mizoram’s three districts – Aizawl, Kolasib and Mamit – share a 164.6 km long boundary with Assam’s Cachar, Hailakandi and Karimganj districts.

Meanwhile, state home minister Lalchamliana said the state government would undertake activities in the border area in Mizoram side as per requirement.

He said that the state police will continue to be deployed in the border areas to prevent untoward incidents and allay fears among people.

Kolasib deputy commission Dr. H. Lalthlangliana claimed that construction activities were carried out within very much Mizoram territory as they respect the status quo.

“Construction activities are partly going on in some border areas within Mizoram side. Mizoram has never constructed roads or other structures inside Assam or on disputed areas,” he said.

The border dispute between the two Northeastern states is a long-pending issue, which stemmed from two demarcations during the colonial period. 

While Mizoram claimed a 509 square miles stretch of the inner-line reserved forest notified in 1875 under the Bengal Eastern Frontier Regulation of 1873 as its actual boundary, Assam said the 1933 demarcations is its constitutional boundary.

The crux lies in the fact that several parts of the inner line reserved forest are now under Assam, while many areas of the 1933 demarcations have been occupied by the Mizos for over a century. 

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

It got statehood in 1987 after 20 years of insurgency movement spearheaded by the erstwhile underground Mizo National Front (MNF), which is now the ruling party in the state and an ally of the BJP led NDA government.

Assam is now a BJP-ruled state.

The inter-state border dispute took an ugly turn on July 26 when police forces of the two state exchanged fire near Vairengte border town along National Highway 306  leading to the death of six policemen and a civilian from Assam.

Scores of people from both sides were also injured in the violent clash.

Tension was diffused following a ministerial-level meeting on August 5, which agreed to maintain peace and amicably resolve the boundary dispute through dialogue.

However, the situation along the Mizoram-Assam border continues to tense due to sporadic incidents after the August agreement.

Lalthlangliana said the situation is still volatile as both forces are still camping in the border areas. 

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