Over 1,000 hectare of our land encroached by Mizos, claims Assam forest officer
Forest officer Tejas Mariswamy was among those who rushed to the Assam-Mizoram border after a group of Mizo civilians allegedly forced road construction workers.
SILCHAR: Mizoram civilians backed by state police officials have encroached more than 1,000 hectare of land in Assam’s Cachar district, a senior Assam forest officer alleged on Friday. Divisional forest officer of Cachar district, Tejas Mariswamy said, “Armed civilians from Mizoram backed by police officials have encroached more than 1000 hectares of Assam’s land. It didn’t happen overnight but slowly and strategically people from Mizoram did it”.
Mariswamy was among the senior officials who rushed to the Assam-Mizoram border after a group of Mizo civilians are alleged to have forcibly stopped road construction labourers who were building a road between Khulicherra and Bagewala village in Cachar district on Thursday.
The construction workers alleged they were attacked with stones and threatened with guns and other weapons. “The masked attackers were carrying guns but they didn’t shoot,” said the construction workers.
Senior police officials including SP Cachar, Ramandeep Kaur, DIG South Assam Range, Debojyoti Mukherjee, additional SP of Cachar, Partha Pratim Saikia and DSP (Border), Gaurav Agarwal along with divisional forest officer of Cachar district, Tejas Mariswamy rushed to the spot to control the situation.
Mariswamy later said: “What happened at Khulichera yesterday and today was just a glimpse of the entire scenario. They stopped our works in front of senior officials and threatened us also. They have now constructed camps on our land. I tried to talk to the forest officials of Mizoram but they did not respond.”
Assam’s forest minister Parimal Suklabaidya, who is also the legislator from the Dholai seat where the land is located, however, refused to confirm the claim.
“If the DFO has claimed that 1000 acres have been encroached, I am sure he has some information. I am yet to visit the area where some incident have reportedly happened yesterday. Before that I cannot make a comment on this,” the minister said, according to reports.
Hindustan Times reached out to forest minister Parimal Suklabaidya, who is also the local legislator but he refused to comment.
Work was temporarily stopped on Thursday but Assam police officials attempted to resume the work under strict security arrangements on Friday morning. But they failed again as hundreds of civilians from Mizoram’s side stopped Assam officials.
Government officials, who have been told by Assam chief minister Himanta Biswa Sarma to adopt a resist and retreat strategy, backed down, keen not to escalate the situation and left the spot.
Superintendent of police of Mizoram Kolashib district, Vanlalfaka Ralte, rejected the allegations levelled by Assam officials. Ralte said Assam was constructing road on Mizoram’s land which angered the Mizo civilians. “We cannot force our civilians to protest because Assam government is making road on Mizoram’s land. Even the Assam police officials were supporting this illegal act.”
Cachar SP Ramandeep Kaur disputed this version. “The work was going on under Pradhanmantri Gramin Sadak Yojana which is located 3 kilometres from the Mizoram border according to the Survey of India map. This is a Assam government’s sanctioned work which cannot be in Mizoram’s territory,” the Assam police officer said.