Aizawl: Mizoram’s main opposition party, the Zoram People’s Movement (ZPM), on Monday urged the state government to ensure broomstick growers reap their harvest.

In a statement, the party said many broomstick farmers in the Aitlang area near Vairengte, a disputed land along the state’s border with Assam, are facing an acute crisis because their farmlands are still “occupied” by the Assam Police.

The farmers will be unable to harvest unless they get state security, it said.

There are more than 18 farmers in the Aitlang area, and Assam Police has been camping face to face with Mizoram Police there since June last year, it added.

The ZPM also alleged that areca nut farmers at Saihapui ‘V’ village, one of the disputed areas in the Kolasib district, were not allowed to collect their harvest by the Assam Police.

It alleged that the Assam Police personnel plucked betel nuts from these farms by hiring labourers.

It asked the government to protect the farmers so they freely harvest their produce.

Mizoram shares a 164.6 km long inter-state boundary with Assam.

The boundary dispute between the two northeastern states is a long-standing issue, which stemmed from two colonial demarcations in 1875 and 1933.

The border dispute took an ugly turn on July 26 last year when police forces of both states engaged in a gunfight at the disputed area near Vairengte village, leading to the deaths of six policemen and a civilian from Assam.

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