Assam-Mizoram border row intensifies, highway blocked for 3rd day
Mizoram security personnel present in large numbers on the disputed border areas have started construction activity and Assam has responded by setting up new border outposts.Updated: Oct 30, 2020, 21:02 IST
The situation along the Assam-Mizoram border continued to remain tense on Friday and blockade of the national highway to Mizoram by residents on the Assam side persisted for the third day.
While Assam maintains that miscreants from Mizoram have encroached parts of its territory and indulged in violence, the Mizoram side claims the areas belong to them.
Mizoram security personnel present in large numbers on the disputed border areas have started construction activity and Assam has responded by setting up new border outposts.
Movement of vehicles on the NH 306, which has been blocked by residents of Lailapur in Assam’s Cachar district since Wednesday seeking withdrawal of the neighbouring state’s security personnel from Assam territory, continued to remain paralysed.
On Friday, Assam’s forest minister Parimal Suklabaidya visited the border areas and interacted with residents. He assured that the government is taking steps to resolve the border dispute soon.
The minister visited the newly set up border out post (BoP) at Singua and assured residents that two more BoPs would soon be set up at Tulartal and Baghewala areas.
“Residents on the Assam side of the border are agitated and scared. A school along the border was recently destroyed by miscreants from Mizoram and their troops have entered our territory. People are blocking the highway till Mizoram troops withdraw,” Suklabaidya told HT.
“The Mizoram side had earlier assured them they will withdraw their personnel from Assam territory, but that hasn’t happened. Instead they have started construction on the occupied areas. We are planning to turn the Lailapur check post into a full-fledged police station,” he added.
Senior police officials in Assam’s Cachar district maintained that the situation was tense but under control.
“We are keeping a close watch on events. The blockade by the public continues as Mizoram troops are still present in Assam territory. Security personnel from Mizoram are constructing barracks and bunkers in the occupied area,” said Cachar superintendent of police BL Meena.
Mizoram home minister Lalchamliana on Thursday maintained that the state will not withdraw its security personnel from the border areas with Assam till normalcy returns.
Speaking to reporters after visiting the border areas he stated that Mizoram accepts the boundary notified under the Bengal Eastern Frontier Regulation (BEFR), 1873 as the actual boundary between both states and hence the troops are within Mizoram and not in Assam territory.
“People on either side of the border should live in harmony as the present crisis is not a communal issue but a border standoff which entirely rests on the governments of the two neighbouring states,” PTI quoted Lalchamliana.
Earlier this month, several people on both sides of the border between two states were injured in clashes after some miscreants from Mizoram allegedly burnt down some huts at Lailapur. Locals on the Assam side had blocked the highway in protest against the incident.
On October 21, senior officials of both states had a meeting in Assam’s Silchar where they had agreed to restore normalcy in the border areas. Mizoram had assured it would call back its troops which had entered Assam side. Following this, trucks had started plying between both states.
Assam and Mizoram share a 164.6 km boundary. There have been skirmishes on both sides earlier as well as both sides claiming portions of land along the boundary as theirs.