Union Home Minister Amit Shah will inaugurate the Assam Rifles complex and lay foundation stone for Laldenga Cultural Centre in Mizoram on April 1, officials said here on Wednesday. According to officials of the Aizawl Smart City Project, the proposed Rs 1.93 crore centre would be built on the northern side of Assam Rifles ground in the heart of the state capital.
Laldenga, who was the founder of the ruling Mizo National Front (MNF), spearheaded a cessationist movement for two decades between 1966 and 1986 and was the first Chief Minister of Mizoram after it attained statehood in 1987. Officials said that the Union Home Minister would inaugurate Assam Rifles headquarters complex at Zokhawsang, about 15 km east of Aizawl.
Assam Rifles, which has been guarding Mizoram’s 510 km border with Myanmar, has two bases in Aizawl, one at Zodin and the other at Khatla. The battalion headquarters at Zodin is being shifted to Zokhawsang. An Assam Rifles official said that they have repeatedly told the state government that relocation of the battalion headquarters from Zodin to Zokhawsang is not desirable until all pending issues and incomplete facilities are resolved and completed.
A tweet from Mizoram Chief Minister’s office said: “Chief Minister Zoramthanga met Union Home Minister Amit Shah at his office today. Chief Minister expressed gratitude to the Hon’ble Union Home Minister on his promise to inaugurate Assam Rifles Bn Complex at Zokhawsang and lay the foundation stone for Laldenga Cultural Centre.”
Zoramthanga said that the aspiration of the MNF in particular and people of Mizoram in general is coming to a reality and he thanked Shah. Relocation of the Assam Rifles from the heart of Aizawl city has been one of the major commitments of the MNF since the early 1990s.
The demand for shifting of the Assam Rifles was first raised by Laldenga in 1988 after the central paramilitary force killed seven civilians in a clash. The relocation was also one the important promises of the MNF in the last Assembly polls held in November 2018.
In February 2019, the Union Home Ministry directed the Assam Rifles to shift its battalion headquarters to Zokhawsang by May 31 of that year.
However, it was delayed due to various reasons.