Himanta, Zoramthanga to meet in Delhi over Assam-Mizoram dispute
Assam chief minister Himanta Biswa Sarma with his Mizoram counterpart Zoramthanga. File photo

AIZAWL: Mizoram chief minister Zoramthanga, who is now in New Delhi, and his Assam counterpart Himanta Biswa Sarma would hold talks for the second time in the national capital to find an amicable solution to the long-standing interstate boundary dispute between the two neighboring northeastern states, an official said on Friday.

The chief ministers of the two states would meet on September 19 in New Delhi after Sarma returned from Assam, the CMO’s official, who accompanied Zoramthanga in New Delhi, said. He said that the venue of the proposed talks is yet to be decided and it is not known whether or not the talks will be held under the chairmanship of Union Home Minister Amit Shah. 

“Both Chief Ministers conversed over the phone on Friday and decided to meet over the border issue on September 19 in New Delhi,” the official said. 

Also Read | Assam, Mizoram govts hopeful of resolving border disputes

The chief ministers of the two states, while having a telephonic conversation on August 10, had decided to hold talks later in August or early September to find an amicable solution to the vexed inter-state border dispute. 

Both the chief ministers of the two neighbouring states had met over the border issue in the presence of Union Home Minister Amit Shah in Delhi in November last year and agreed to form panels of their own involving all stakeholders to resolve the border dispute through dialogue.

Toward this end, the two leaders had also agreed to have chief minister-level talks from time to time. 

Also Read | Mizoram, Assam police agree to maintain cordial relations

Three districts of Mizoram – Aizawl, Kolasib and Mamit – share a 164.6-km-long border with three districts of Assam – Cachar, Hailakandi and Karimganj. The border dispute between the two states, which stemmed from two colonial demarcations of 1875 and 1933, is complicated and long-standing.

Mizoram maintains that a 509-square miles stretch of inner line reserved forest notified in 1875 under the Bengal Eastern Frontier Regulation (BEFR) 1873, a certain section of which now falls under Assam, is the actual boundary of the state.

Assam, on the other hand, claims that the boundary as per Survey of India’s map in 1933 is the constitutional boundary of the state. Certain areas, which are now occupied by Mizoram, fall under the 1933 demarcation.

The border standoff between Mizoram and Assam turned ugly on July 26 last year when police forces of both states attacked each other and launched gunfights that led to the death of 7 people, including 6 policemen from Assam, and injuries to around 60 people. 

Also Read | 7 months on, Assam residents allege ‘intrusions’ along Mizoram border

Following the violent clash, delegations from both states held a ministerial-level meeting on August 5 last year and decided to maintain peace along the inter-state boundary and resolve the dispute through dialogue. So far, the delegations have held two rounds of talks in Aizawl and three virtual meetings. 

In the last meeting held on August 9, both the delegations agreed to maintain peace and take necessary measures to prevent any untoward incident along the borders. 
They had also decided to meet again in Guwahati next month. 

Last week, Mizoram State Boundary Committee had unanimously approved an “Approach Paper” to be tabled in the next round of talks as the government’s standpoint on the boundary. 

Also Read | Mizoram farmers suffer the brunt of Assam-Mizoram border tensions

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