Aizawl: Mizoram Chief Minister Zoramthanga has said the relationship between Mizoram and Assam was gradually improving since the violent clash over the inter-state boundary on July 26, which resulted in the death of seven people, an Assembly official said on Thursday.

During Zero Hour on Wednesday, Zoramthanga informed the Assembly that his government was, however, strongly disappointed with the Assam government order of directing its police to check all vehicles and passengers coming from Mizoram at all entry points in the name of the anti-drug drive, the official said.

The CM informed the Assembly that on July 29 the Assam government also issued a travel advisory, cautioning its residents against travelling to Mizoram.

“Disappointed with the order, we have written to the Union Home Ministry on July 30 to instruct the Assam government to lift the ban it as a goodwill gesture to establish a good relationship,” Zoramthanga was quoted as saying by the official.

Though the Assam government had revoked the travel advisory on August 5, the order to thoroughly check vehicles entering from Mizoram has not been withdrawn to date, Zoramthanga said.

The chief minister also informed the Assembly that the government has written to its Assam counterpart at least three times to revoke the order.

But, he added, “Despite all the incidents that occurred in connection with the boundary, the relation between the two neighbouring states is improving.”

On Wednesday, Congress Legislature Party (CPL) leader Zodintluanga Ralte had raised the issue in a “special mention” and termed the order “an outright violation of human rights”.

The Congress leader had also pointed out that a bus driver from Bilkhawthlir village named F. Lalrotluanga was arrested by Assam police on August 17 for allegedly transporting heroin while proceeding towards Assam.

He claimed that the bus driver might be innocent as he has no record of drug smuggling and that he was asked by an Assamese trader to transport about 20 bags of dry areca nuts.

“The drugs must have been planted by the trader to frame Lalrotluanga, who is now incarcerated at Silchar district jail,” the Congress leader claimed.

Citing that Lalrotluanga’s case and the Assam government order to check all Mizoram vehicles have to be challenged either in a high court or the Supreme Court, Ralte urged the state government to take immediate measures to prevent any further problem.

Replying to Ralte, the CM had said his government would make an all-out effort to free Lalrotluanga. On the order on checking of vehicles, the CM informed the Assembly that they they have “raised complaints several times as a result of which the order is not strictly implemented now” although it has not been withdrawn.

“Core committee preparing topo-sheets of boundary”

The Mizoram government has already conceived strategies and is making massive efforts to resolve the long-standing border dispute with neighbouring Assam, state home minister Lalchamliana informed the state legislature on Thursday.

He said that the state government had in 2018 constituted a core committee to study and assess the state boundary. The core committee was re-constituted under the chairmanship of state chief secretary Lalnunmawia Chuaunog in 2019, he said.

“The core committee is currently doing research and analysis on the state border by collecting topo-sheets and important documents related to the state boundary with Assam,” Lalchamliana said while replying to a query from opposition Congress Legislature Party leader Zodintluanga Ralte.

He said the state government has already appointed a nodal officer on the border and submitted a report to the Centre as per the Union Ministry of Home Affairs instruction.

He said the government has also constituted a ‘team” to compile important documents supportive of Mizoram’s stand on the border to be tabled before experts from Manohar Parrikar Institute of Defence Studies when the team arrives in the state.

Besides, he said a boundary committee involving all political parties and NGOs headed by deputy chief minister Tawnluia has also been recently formed.

On Wednesday, the home minister informed the state assembly that Assam has encroached and is currently occupying a vast area of lands belonging to at least 20 farmers from Mizoram’s Kolasib district.

These areas are located in Aitlang that borders Assam’s Hailakandi district and Buarchep and Phainuam areas, which border Cachar district in Assam, the home minister had said.

“There is no report of any encroachment from the neighbouring state at Thinghlun in western Mizoram’s Mamit district, which border Assam’s Karimganj district,” Lalchamliana was quoted as saying by officials.

The home minister also said that neither the Mizoram government nor its Assamese counterpart has yet conceived of giving compensation to the 20 farmers in the Kolasib district whose lands have been trespassed by the neighbouring state.

Mizoram’s three districts- Aizawl, Kolasib and Mamit share a 164.6-km long inter-state border with Assam’s Cachar, Hailakandi and Karimganj districts.

Tension escalated on July 26 when forces of both states exchanged fire, leaving at least six police personnel and a civilian from Assam dead and more than 60 people injured. The boundary dispute between the two Northeastern states is a long-standing issue and several attempts to resolve it since 1994 have yielded little result. 

Also read: Mizoram Govt condemns Assam’s order to check all vehicles from Mizoram

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