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Mizoram, Assam spar over encroachment as border dispute escalates

Mizoram accused Assam of human rights violations, a charge denied by Guwahati which said on Monday that encroachment of its land was the crux of the border dispute between the

Mizoram accused Assam of human rights violations, a charge denied by Guwahati which said on Monday that encroachment of its land was the crux of the border dispute between the two Northeastern states.

Mizoram’s Kolasib district Deputy Commissioner H Lalthlangliana shot a letter to Assam’s Cachar district administration, alleging human rights violation and atrocities on tribal people by Assam government officials and police during a border stand-off on July 10, an official in Aizawl said.

Copies of the letter were also sent to the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) and National Commission for Scheduled Tribes (NCST), he said.

Reacting to it, Special Director-General of Assam Police GP Singh told PTI that whenever views are sought from the state by the NHRC and NCST, the response shall be provided accordingly.

“The basic issue remains that encroachment of Assam land by Mizoram has happened. Subsequent to that, other issues are there. But the basic issue is encroachment,” he said.

“There is a Constitutional boundary demarcated for each state and they (Mizoram) have encroached into Assam. They have to work on that,” Singh added.

In the letter, Lalthlangliana said a road was constructed on July 10 from Assam to Buarchep without any prior notice and officials of the neighbouring state backed by police destroyed crops belonging to people of the Mizo tribe.

The tribal people who gathered to protest were forcefully driven off by armed police personnel from Assam, he alleged.

Also, two loud explosions were heard on July 11 around 2.40 am by Mizoram police forces guarding the border at Saihapui ”V” village and Buarchep on the border with Assam, he said.

A criminal case under the Explosive Substances Act was also registered at the Vairengte police station in Mizoram.

Rejecting the allegation, a senior Assam Police officer said the tension on July 10 started when around 25-30 people from Mizoram came up to 25 metres ahead of Khulicherra CRPF camp and tried to encroach the land inside Assam, attempting to stop the forest track clearing work and prevent PWD officials from constructing a road.

“On receiving the information, the police rushed to the spot and observed that Mizo people, including women, obstructed the route at Khulicherra leading towards Upper Painom LP school which is around 6.5 km inside Assam,” the officer said.

“The crowd swelled up to 50-60 civilians. Around the same time, one Additional SP rank officer of the Mizoram Police arrived at the spot and he was asked to remove the illegal encroachment by Mizo people. However, the obstruction was not removed,” he said.

Assam Police personnel then announced over loudspeakers that their congregation inside Assam territory was illegal and they should disperse peacefully, but they continued their aggressive and abusive behaviour towards government officials on duty and kept threatening them with sharp weapons, he alleged.

“They had also erected wooden barricades, preventing legitimate movement. After the persuasion attempts were not responded positively, Assam Police personnel moved ahead to clear the encroached land using minimum force,” the officer said.

“As a result, the encroachment up to the first bridge over Dholakhal Khulicherra stream was cleared and a temporary camp has been set up to prevent further incursions,” the officer said.

A grenade was also hurled on the team of Assam government officials by suspected miscreants from Mizoram but no one was injured in the blast, he claimed.

The next day, July 11, two back-to-back explosions took place along the inter-state border on Mizoram side, another Assam Police officer said.

The two blasts were heard around 2.40 am and 2.43 am, he said.

The latest escalation came even as top officials of the two states, including the chief secretaries and DGPs, met in New Delhi to defuse the tension and resolve the dispute.

Mizoram’s Kolasib, Aizawl and Mamit districts share a 164.6-km-long border with Assam’s Cachar, Hailakandi and Karimganj districts.

The Kolasib district deputy commissioner told PTI on Sunday that the situation along the inter-state border is still tense. PTI

First Published: 19th July, 2021 13:25 IST

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