Assam Mizoram border dispute
The border standoff between Mizoram and Assam turned ugly on July 26, 2021 when police forces of both states had gunfights leading to the death of 7 people, including 6 policemen from Assam, and injuries to around 60 people. (File photo)

The Mizoram government has endorsed the pleas of ethnic Mizo communities in Singla valley and Langkaih or Longai valley of Assam’s Karimganj district to merge with the state of Mizoram, a home department official said on Wednesday.

This was informed the state assembly by state home minister Lalchamliana recently, the official said.

Lalchamliana told the state legislature on Monday that the ‘Thangram Indigenous People’s Movement’ (TIPM), which represents the Zo indigenous people of Singla and Langkaih valley, had submitted a memorandum to Prime Minister Narendra Modi last year, expressing their desire to merge with Mizoram.

“Letters soliciting the opinion of the Mizoram government on the matter is yet to be received either from the Centre or the Assam government,” he had said.

The home minister had said that the Mizoram government has welcomed and endorsed the initiatives of TIPM to merge the areas occupied by ethnic Mizos in Singla and Longai valley with Mizoram.

The demands of TIPM were included in Mizoram’s approach paper on boundary issues to be presented to the team of Manohar Parrikar Institute for Defence Studies and Analysis (MP-IDSA) whenever they visit the state, he had said.

MP-IDSA was constituted under the Union Ministry of Home Affairs to study border disputes in the northeast region.

Meanwhile, TIPM president K. Vana Chorei said that over 30,000 people of various Zo ethnic tribes live in Singla and Langkaih valleys, which cover over 180 square miles of the stretch of areas and borders Mizoram’s Mamit district.

The area is called ‘Thangram’ (Western part) and covers 24 villages, he said.

The leader claimed that the area has been occupied by the Mizo or Zo indigenous tribes from time immemorial and was part of Mizoram before it attained statehood in 1987.

The area is yet to be verified under the North-Eastern Areas Re-organisation Act in 1971, he said.

He alleged that the area had been neglected by the Assam government and received no welfare schemes.

“Though initially part of Mizoram, we were ignored when Mizoram attained statehood and we have also been neglected by the Assam government as we hardly receive development from the state,” Chorei said.

He said the ethnic Mizo tribes living in Thangram could be culturally and economically assimilated to the non-tribal shortly if the area is not protected and merged with Mizoram.

Chorei said that the organisation had submitted memorandums to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union Home Minister Amit Shah last year expressing their desire for a merger with Mizoram.

They also met Union Hom Secretary Ajay Kumar Bhalla, who assured them to survey the area.

The home ministry is yet to survey the area, he added.

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