Will join probe led by a neutral agency: Himanta Biswa Sarma on border row case
Assam chief minister Himanta Biswa Sarma on Saturday questioned the rationale behind the Mizoram police registering an FIR against him on charges of attempt to murder and assault, as a standoff between the north-eastern states after a clash at their disputed border last Monday refused to abate.
Sarma said he will be “very happy” to join the investigation if it is conducted by a “neutral agency”. “Will be very happy to join in any investigation. But why is the case not being handed over to a neutral agency, especially when the place of occurrence is well within the constitutional territory of Assam? Have already conveyed this to @ZoramthangaCM ji,” Sarma said on Twitter.
The Mizoram police lodged an FIR against Sarma and six officials under various charges including those related to attempt to murder and criminal conspiracy at Vairengte police station late on Monday after a violent clash between Mizoram and Assam police. The FIR, however, became public on Friday. The clashes, which also involved civilians from the two states, left six Assam police personnel and a civilian dead.
The four police officials named in the FIR are IGP Anurag Agarwal, Cachar DIG Debojyoti Mukherjee, Cachar SP Vaibhav Chandrakant Nimbalkar and Officer in Charge of Dholai police station Sahabuddin.
Cachar deputy commissioner Keerthi Jalli and divisional forest officer Sunnydeo Choudhury have also been booked under the same charges. The officials have been asked to appear at the police station on August 1.
Meanwhile, an all-party delegation of Assam MLAs also hit out at the Mizoram government, calling the FIR against the chief minister “unacceptable”. “We have differences with the ruling government on various issues and we often discuss. But in this issue, we all have agreed that Mizoram’s violent attitude cannot be supported. After killing six Assam police officials, their Rajya Sabha MP threatened to kill more. Now they have lodged an FIR against Assam Chief Minister. This is unacceptable, we have assured to give complete support to the present government on solving this issue,” said Krishak Mukti Sangram Samiti leader and Sivasagar MLA Akhil Gogoi, who has been a staunch critic of Sarma.
His comments came after the all-party panel, led by Assam speaker Biswajit Daimary, visited the Lailapur area near the Assam-Mizoram border.
Following the visit, Daimary said, “Our people initiated a peaceful discussion but Mizoram replied to us with bullets. They have killed six Indian citizens and this has to be judged by law. Because India is a law-abiding country and we have a strong judicial system.” He also refuted reports of an economic blockade in Assam. “There is no declared economic blockade happening in any part of Assam. But... locals here are angry and they have their reasons...,” he said.
The forces in Assam, meanwhile, have bolstered security along border areas. “Mizoram has constructed roads & established camps in forests in our territory... they have distributed arms and ammunition to civilians. Many of them are former militants. Hence, they are trained. They are aggressively forwarding towards us so we have to stop them at some point,” said Cachar deputy commissioner Keerthi Jalli in an official statement.