Hailakandi, Sep 3: The Assam government has refuted Kolasib Deputy Commissioner’s claims that Assam police personnel assaulted and kidnapped a construction worker at the Assam-Mizoram border.
On Thursday, the Kolasib DC H. Lalthlangliana, in a letter to his Hailakandi counterpart, alleged that one Lalnarammawia, operator of an earth excavator, was blindfolded and kidnapped at gunpoint by Assam Police personnel in commando fatigues from Aitlang area, a few kilometres from Mizoram’s Vairengte village.
However, the Assam government has refuted the claims. Speaking to this correspondent, Hailakandi SP Gourav Upadhyay said the police officials did not harm anyone and there is no question of kidnapping any Mizo citizen at gunpoint.
“The allegation of abducting by a disciplined force like Assam Police is absolutely concocted, baseless, malafide and devoid of any facts and is an attempt by Mizoram administration to divert the attention from main issue, that is illegal construction by Mizoram authorities on Assam soil,” SP said.
Upadhyay added, “On August 26, we noticed two camps constructed by Mizoram on our land at Dholakhal area under Bilaipur Police station. Along with me, DC and forest officials of Hailakandi wrote letters to Kolashib district administration of Mizoram, but no response was received.”
As per the letters accessed by this correspondent, the Hailakandi Divisional Forest Officer, J Deka, on August 27 wrote to DC Hailakandi complaining about the construction of the said camps at the border area.
“With the subject and reference above I have the honour to inform you that on today i/c Range Officer, Matijuri has visited the Kachurithal-Balicherra area within Inner Line Reserved Forest area under Matujuri Range, Hailakandi District and reported that Mizoram Police has installed 2(Two) nos. temporary Camp and one bunker near the boundary of 200 Hectors Block Plantation site very recently,” the letter stated.
Taking note of the information, DC Hailakandi Rohan Kumar Jha on drafted a letter to his Kolasib counterpart asking to stop the construction and respect the joint statement of both the states on 5th August agreeing ‘status quo’.
“Constructing camps and bunkers in Inner Line Reserve Forest is a crime under Forest Conservation Act-1980 and Assam Forest Regulation act-1934. The presence of Mizo forces with arms in the bordering area of Hailakandi district might cause panic and fear among the civilians in the areas and it may lead to unrest among the local residents,” the letter dated 27th August stated.
However, the Hailakandi administration claimed they received no reply from the Mizoram side.
After simmering tensions for several months over a border dispute, at least six Assam Police personnel and one civilian were killed and more than 50 people injured in a fire-fight between the police of the two states on July 26.
The two states share a 164.6-km border between Assam”s Cachar, Hailakandi and Karimganj districts, and Mizoram’s Kolasib, Mamit and Aizawl districts.
Both states have differing interpretations of their territorial border. While Mizoram believes that its border lies along an ‘inner line’ drawn up in 1875 to protect tribals from outside influence, Assam goes by a district demarcation done in 1933.
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