The Assam-Mizoram border dispute has descended into utter chaos, two days after Home Minister Amit Shah’s meeting with Chief Ministers of eight Northeast states, where inter-state border disputes were prominently discussed.
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On Monday, the Assam-Mizoram border witnessed firing, lathicharge, and one can see multiple videos of the alarming situation on social media even as just two days ago, Mizoram CM Zoramthanga and his Assam counterpart Himanta Biswa Sarma were discussing the issue across the table.
Not to mention, Zoramthanga is also part of the NDA, which makes the situation even more embarrassing for the BJP.
The two chief minister were engaged in a Twitter face-off on Monday as they complained to Union Home Minister Amit Shah, who had held a meeting on the border disputes between the Northeastern states in Shillong on Saturday.
“I have just spoken to Hon’ble Chief Minister @ZoramthangaCM ji. I have reiterated that Assam will maintain status quo and peace between the borders of our state. I have expressed my willingness to visit Aizawl and disscuss these issues if need be,” Sarma tweeted.
The Assam Police claimed that at least half a dozen of its personnel were injured in Cachar district in stone-pelting by miscreants from Mizoram during the day.
Locals on the Assam side alleged that miscreants in hundreds, armed with sticks, rods and even rifles, attacked personnel of the Assam Police at Lailapur and damaged several vehicles, including those belonging to the office of the Deputy Commissioner.
Some of them claimed that the miscreants fired at Assam Police personnel, but this could not be verified immediately as calls made to several police officers remained unanswered.
“It’s unfortunate that large number of miscreants from Mizoram are indulging in stone pelting and such forms of attack at Assam Government Officials, stationed at Lailapur to protect Assam’s land from encroachment,” the Assam Police tweeted.
“We strongly condemn these acts of vandalism and reiterate our resolve to protect Assam’s boundary,” it added.
Sources claimed that around six policemen were injured in the stone-pelting incident.
Meanwhile, the Mizoram Police said that eight farmers’ huts were set ablaze by unidentified miscreants in the Kolasib district near the Assam border on Sunday night.
Mizoram Deputy Inspector-General of Police (Northern Range), Lalbiakthanga Khiangte, told PTI that the incident happened near Aitlang stream in the trouble-torn area around 11.30 pm.
He said these belonged to farmers from Vairengte, the nearest border village from Assam.
Complaints have been lodged by owners of the huts at Vairengte police station and an investigation is underway, Khiangte said.
A never-ending fracas
A simple Google search would reveal that while clashes and disturbances along the Assam-Mizoram border are not new, the intensity of today’s clashes, with civilians being attacked and police firing live bullets, is surely unprecedented.
According to a document shared by a Mizo official, the present tension dates back to October 2020 when Assam officials led by Karimganj DC and SP allegedly entered the plantation of two Mizo farmers. Ever since, according to Mizo officials, Assam Police has been on the offensive, and as early as July, EastMojo spoke with Mizo farmers who said their farms had been destroyed.
Assam Police has, of course, categorically denied any such act. As recently as July 23, Assam Police confirmed that it was camping at two locations along the interstate boundary with Mizoram. More importantly, Assam Police officials also denied reports that civilians have left their homes out of fear.
In July, it also emerged that the Mizoram government, officials, and politicians have left no stone unturned to highlight the issue. From calling for compensation to levelling human rights violations, Mizoram seems much more invested in the issue than Assam. Take the example of July 23, when the Mizoram government issued a notification, saying that it would set up a boundary commission. The same would be headed by deputy chief minister Tawnluia as chairman and Home Minister Lalchamliana as vice-chairman. State home department secretary was made member secretary. Importantly, the commission will also have one member from leading NGOs, recognised political parties, Joint Action Committee on Inner Line Reserve Forest Demand apart from three ministers, chief secretary, additional chief secretary and Director General of Police (DGP), it said.
In contrast, while the MLA of Katlicherra, Suzam Uddin Laskar recently met the chief minister Himanta Biswa Sharma and sought his intervention to end this thirty-five years old dispute, the Assam government and organisations do not seem to be as invested in the issue. Barak valley journalists alleged that the district administration is also not allowing them to report from the border region.
Even though updates in the last hour and a conversation between Zoramthanga and Sarma are a positive, today’s events indicate no end to this ongoing tension.
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