Ground Report | New Delhi: What Assam and Mizoram police fighting; The Assam-Mizoram border dispute once again took a violent turn with the death of five Assam Police personnel. But this is not the first time that the border dispute between these two states has erupted.
In October last year also, there were clashes between the people of Assam and Mizoram. Twice within a week, many people were injured in clashes, and huts and shops were burnt.
What Assam and Mizoram police fighting for?
The dispute on the borders of Assam and Mizoram is about some area which people on both sides claim as their own. The border of Assam and Mizoram is about 165 km long. But in the British era, the name of Mizoram was Lushai Hills and it was a district of Assam.
At the root of the controversy is a 146-year-old notification. A notification was issued in 1875 under the Bengal Eastern Frontier Regulation Act of 1873. In this notification, Lushai Hills was separated from the Cachar plain. Then in 1933, by issuing another notification, the boundary between Lushai Hills and Manipur was also marked.
But both the notices show the boundary separately. The people of Mizoram believe that the boundaries should be decided on the basis of the notification of 1875. Mizo leaders have been arguing that the notification of 1933 is not valid as it was not discussed with the Mizo community.
On the other hand, the Assam government accepts the notification of 1933. There is controversy because of this. And this controversy sometimes boils over. Violence has also taken place on this border in February 2018. Then Mizo Zirlai Pawl (MZP), an influential student organization of Mizoram, built a rest house in the forest for farmers.
Assam officials said that the rest house was built on Assam land. That’s why the police and the forest department broke it. Then there were also violent clashes between the Mizo Students’ Organization and the employees of Assam.
Now what happened?
In June this year, some people torched two vacant houses in the border area. After this, the tension increased. In early July, the two states accused each other of crossing the border in Kolasib district. Assam said that the people of Mizoram are coming within 10 km of the Assam border and doing agriculture in Hailakandi. The police in Assam’s Cachar district deployed their troops around the village of Vairengte and occupied the area on June 29, removing the Mizos from there.
The Superintendent of Police of Mizoram’s Kolasib district, Vanlalphaka Ralte, told news agency PTI that it was an attack. “It is a direct attack by the neighboring state as the area belongs to Mizoram. Local farmers have driven away,” he said.
Assam Police is still stationed in Vairengte. The Chief Ministers of Assam and Mizoram are also having a debate on Twitter, in which both have made their own claims tagging Home Minister Amit Shah. Mizoram Chief Minister Zoramthanga posted a video on Monday urging Home Minister Amit Shah to take cognizance of the matter.
He wrote, “An innocent couple coming to Mizoram via Cachar was thrashed by goons. How would you justify this behavior?”
On the other hand, Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma, while replying to Zoramthanga, wrote, “Kolasib SP is telling us that till we do not move from our post, their citizens will not listen and violence will not stop. How can administration be done in such condition? Is it? Amit Shah, Prime Minister’s Office, hope you will intervene soon.”
However, later Sarma said that he had spoken to Zoramthanga. He wrote, “Just spoke to Chief Minister Zoramthanga. I reiterated that Assam will maintain the status quo and peace along the border. I have also expressed my desire to come to Aizawl and hold talks if needed.”
But shortly after this tweet, Zoramthanga replied, “As it has been said, I request that the Assam Police be directed to withdraw from Vairangte for the safety of the citizens.”