Aizawl: Two days after a Joint Action Committee (JAC) urged the Centre and Mizoram government to revoke the order directing border districts to maintain the status quo and stop construction activities along the state border with Assam, the state government on Wednesday instructed two border districts to resume construction activities citing “Assam does not respect the status quo and still continues construction activities.”

State home minister Lalchamliana informed the meeting of State Boundary Committee that the deputy commissioners of Kolasib and Mamit districts, which share a border with Assam, have been instructed to resume construction of development projects in border areas on Wednesday as Assam did not stop its construction activities along the inter-state border.

The home minister also suggested that the two neighbouring states should hold a bilateral political dialogue to resolve the long-pending border dispute. On November 5, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) sent advisories to Mizoram and Assam to maintain status quo on the disputed areas along the inter-state border. 

Following the MHA advisory, Mizoram home department had on November 8 instructed the deputy commissioners of Kolasib and Mamit to maintain the status quo and refrain from undertaking construction activities in the disputed areas along the Mizoram-Assam border. Eventually, the two district administrations had partly halted construction activities on November 11.

Mizoram 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.

On November 15, the JAC on Inner Line Reserve Forest Demand had served an ultimatum to the Mizoram government to withdraw the order within 72 hours and threatened to take stringent measures if the government fails to do so. The Aizawl-based JAC also urged the Centre to revoke its advisory, alleging it as “one-sided and biased” because Assam allegedly continued its construction activities along the inter-state border despite the advisory.

Meanwhile, the meeting of Mizoram State Boundary Committee, chaired by its chairman and deputy chief minister Tawnluia, on Wednesday unanimously agreed that both the Mizoram and Assam governments should hold a political dialogue in order to resolve the decades-old boundary dispute. 

The meeting resolved and reiterated that the inner line reserved forest notified under the Bengal Eastern Frontier Regulation (1873) in 1875 should be the basis for demarcation between Mizoram and Assam boundaries in order to resolve the vexed issue. 

The meeting further discussed at length the draft approach paper to be tabled before the Manohar Parrikar Institute for Defense Studies and Analyses (MP-IDSA) team when it visits the state this month-end. 

State chief secretary Renu Sharma, who participated in the meeting, said that massive efforts would be made to resolve the border dispute keeping in mind what is best for Mizoram. She lauded the state government, political parties and various organisations for uniting in one accord over the border issue.

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

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

Tension escalated on July 26 when police forces of the two neighbouring states engaged in a ‘Merapani War (1985)’ like gunbattle on the disputed area near Vairengte on the National Highway-306.

The incident led to the death of six policemen and a civilian from Assam, while several people from both states were also injured. 

Subsequently, both states had held talks on August 5 and agreed to defuse tension and amicably resolve the long-standing border dispute through dialogue.

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