Aizawl: Tension prevailed along Mizoram-Assam border when Assam police constructed bamboo huts on the disputed land at Zophai area near Bairabi town in Kolasib district on Sunday, a year after a violent border clash between the two neighbouring states led to the death of 7 people, a senior police officer said on Monday.
Mizoram shares a 164.6-km long boundary with Assam and the two northeastern states are currently on parleys to find amicable solution to the vexed border dispute.
Kolasib Superintendent of Police (SP) Vanlalfaka Ralte said that the Assam police have erected two temporary huts on the disputed area just opposite to Mizoram’s first chief Minister Ch. Chhunga’s paddy field, where the border clash occurred in 2018.
The incident area falls on the dispute land between Mizoram’s Kolasib district and Hailakandi district in Assam.
Ralte said the two huts were dismantled by the Assam police themselves on Monday following reactions from the Mizoram government. According to him, chief minister Zoramthanga and home minister Lalchamliana have also spoken to their Assam counterparts on the issue.
Ralte said that Assam officials had conducted a survey in the area last week.
“On learning of the survey and attempt of constructing huts, Kolasib deputy commissioner and I spoke to our Hailakandi counterparts, informing them that the area is within the disputed land where both state governments have agreed to maintain status-quo,” Ralte said.
Assam officials claimed that they were not aware that it was the disputed area.
“The situation along the inter-state border is limping back to normalcy after removal of the huts on Monday,” he said.
Ralte further added that they were suspicious that the Assam government was trying to setup permanent police base in the area.
“Any activities, including construction of structures along the disputed areas, can hamper the ongoing border talks between the two states,” he added.
Meanwhile, Mizoram’s apex student body Mizo Zirlai Pawl (MZP) vehemently blamed the Assam government for the incident.
A statement issued by the influential student body on Monday said that the construction of huts by the Assam police on the disputed area in disregard to the status-quo was an insult to the people of Mizoram as well as the peace process between the two states.
A violent clash took place at the same area in March 2018 when MZP functionaries attempted to construct a wooden hut there.
More than 60 people were injured when police charged lathi and opened fire to the protesters in that year.
The border dispute between Mizoram and Assam is a long pending issue, which remains unresolved till date. Seven people, including a civilian from Assam had died in July last year when forces of both states exchanged fire on the dispute area on the National Highway-306.
Both the states are currently in talks to resolve the vexed border dispute.
Last month, chief ministers of the two states, Zoramthanga and Himanta Biswa Sarma, met in Delhi over the border issue and agreed to carry on the ongoing ministerial level talks, which were last held in Aizawl in August.
The next round of ministerial level talks are scheduled to be held in Guwahati within this month.
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