Several people were injured when a fresh border dispute took place on the disputed land along the Mizoram-Assam border at Zophai area near Mizoram’s Bairabi town in Kolasib district on Tuesday, police said.
The area is also called Kachurthal by Assam and is fall within Hailakandi district.
The border standoff occurred when Assam allegedly constructed a link road into the disputed land.
Police said that two staff of Mizoram’s Power and Electricity department and a member of Bairabi village council, who have gone to conduct a survey for power extension, were beaten up by residents of Assam when they took pictures, which resulted in bitter clash between residents of the two states.
However, the situation was put under control with the deployment of security forces on either side of the border, the police said, adding that there was no casualty in the clash.
Bairabi North Village Council president R. Lalfakawma said that Assam has encroached on Mizoram’s territory by constructing a link road up to paddy fields in Mizoram side.
He claimed that the paddy fields were owned by the Mizos from time immemorial.
He said that three Mizoram residents were injured in the clash.
A local leader, who refused to be named, said that at least six farm huts on Mizoram side, occupied by non-tribal or Assam residents, were set on fire by a mob.
Sources said that at least ten Assam residents were injured in the tussle.
Hailakandi Deputy commissioner Meghnidhi Dahal and superintendent of police Pabindra Kumar Nath rushed to site to take stock of the situation on Tuesday.
On August 9 last year, a border dispute had flared up between the two neighbouring states when Assam’s Karimganj district administration allegedly set fire to a farm hut and damaged plantation on disputed land near Thinghlun village in west Mizoram’s Mamit district.
Shortly after, on August 17, a violent clash broke out along Mizoram’s boundary with Assam’s Cachar district, near Vairengte village, during which a group of people torched makeshift bamboo huts and stalls erected by residents of Lailapur village in the neighbouring state, along NH-306.
At least seven people from the state and a few others from Assam were injured in the clash, prompting the Centre to intervene.
Tension aggravated following the mysterious death of a 48-year-old Assam resident in Vairengte and bomb explosion at two Assam’s schools along the border in October and November.
Subsequently, agitators blocked NH-306 – which connects Mizoram with Cachar district in Assam—forcing the hilly state to import oil and cooking gas from its other neighbour, Manipur.
The crisis was finally resolved in November after central armed forces were deployed on either side of the border, and senior officials of both the states held meetings, chaired by Union Home Secretary Ajay Kumar Bhalla.
Three districts of Mizoram- Aizawl, Kolasib and Mamit share a 164.6-km-long inter-state border with Assam’s Cachar, Hailakandi and Karimganj district.
In March 2018, a border dispute had occurred at Zophai area when functionaries of Mizo Zirlai Pawl (MZP) attempt to reconstruct a resting shed destroyed by Assam police.
At least 60 people were injured when police resorted to lathi-charge to disperse the protesting students.