Aizawl: Former Mizoram boundary committee member and ex-Lok Sabha member CL Ruala on Friday said that a 509-sq-mile stretch of the Inner Line Reserve Forest (ILRF) area belongs to Mizoram.
Ruala, who was the member of the Assam-Mizoram boundary committee in 1973 and 1987, said Ch Chhunga, the first chief minister of Mizoram when it became a Union territory, had on January 2, 1974 submitted a memorandum to then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi asking her that the boundary between Mizoram and Assam’s Cachar should be drawn as per the existing Inner Line Reserve Forest area as demarcated under the Bengal Eastern Frontier Regulation, 1973 and later notified in 1875.
“When both chief secretaries of Mizoram and Assam met over border in July 1987, the Mizoram chief secretary informed his Assam counterpart that the boundary line between Mizoram and Assam was that of the inner line 1875 as mentioned by Ch Chhunga in his memorandum. The Mizoram government has no other standpoint than the Inner Line Reserve Forest area as regards to boundary,” Ruala said in a seminar on Friday.
The state cabinet on July 8 declared the boundary line or Inner Line Reserve Forest area notified under the Bengal Eastern Frontier Regulation in 1875 as the most accepted boundary of the state and was the standpoint of the government.
Reacting to this, CL Ruala said that the state cabinet, instead of making a new declaration, should have said that its standpoint is similar to Ch Chhunga’s standpoint.
Ruala said that he was appointed as a member of Assam-Mizoram boundary committee in 1973 and 1987 during which he along with other officials conducted intensive survey.
Quoting the Assam government note on the Lushai, 1873-1889, Ruala said, “The southern boundary of the Cachar district was defined and gazetted under Inner Line regulation in August 1875, which is marked by 46 boundary pillars. A pass was granted to persons allowed to cross the inner line at a fee of 8 annas for each pass.”
According to Assam forest manual and foreign department notification in 1875, the Inner Line Reserve Forest area was accepted by the British government as Lushai territory, he said.
According to Ruala, the inner line or 46 boundary pillars was demarcated much before Lushai hills or Mizoram became part of British India. He said that the existing constitutional boundary according to survey of India was drawn in 1904 and modified in 1912 and 1930 after Mizoram became part of Assam in September 1895.
“The boundary was just an imaginary, which was fabricated and drawn without consulting the Mizo chiefs,” he added.