Sunday, March 26, 2023

Border row: Assam, Mizoram to form committee

Assam and Mizoram will start the process of forming a regional committee to discuss and resolve the decades-old border issues between the two states.
At a one-to-one meeting held at Assam House here, Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma and his Mizoram counterpart Zoramthanga reviewed the ministerial level talks held at Aizawl on August 9.
A ministerial level delegation headed by Assam minister Atul Bora had visited Aizawl to hold talks on resolving the border problem.
Briefing journalists, Sarma said he reviewed with his Mizoram counterpart on the ministerial level talks held in Aizawl and both found the progress since then to be satisfactory.
He said both discussed a gamut of issues pertaining to resolving the vexed border imbroglio between the two neighbouring states.
“We are also in the process of forming a regional committee to discuss and resolve the border issues between the two states,” Sarma said.
Assam and Mizoram share a 164-km-long border.
While the Mizoram government claimed that a 509 square-mile stretch of the inner-line reserve forest notified in 1875 under the Bengal Eastern Frontier Regulation of 1873 belongs to it, the Assam side insisted that the constitutional map and boundary drawn by survey of India in 1933 was acceptable to it.
After a massive tussle in 2018, the border row resurfaced in August 2020 and then in February 2021.
However, the escalating tensions were successfully defused after a series of parleys with the intervention of the Centre.
On June 5, 2021, two abandoned houses along the Mizoram-Assam border were burnt down by unidentified persons, fuelling tension along the volatile inter-state border.
Nearly a month after this incident, fresh border standoff cropped up again with both trading charges of encroachment on each other’s lands.
While Mizoram accused Assam of encroaching upon its land and forcefully seized Aitlang area about 5 km west of Vairengte village, the neighbouring state accused Mizoram of building structures and planting betel nut and banana saplings allegedly 10 km inside Hailakandi district in Assam.
Two makeshift camps erected by Mizoram police on the disputed area were damaged by Assam Police during a confrontation.
Officials said razing of two camps constructed by Mizos and also a COVID-19 testing centre built by them was part of the efforts to foil Mizoram’s bid to capture its land on the border.
Five Assam Police personnel and a civilian were killed and over 50 others including a superintendent of police were injured when the Mizoram Police opened fire on a team of the Assam officials on July 26, 2021 following clashes along the two states’ border.
After the July 26, 2021 violence, both Assam and Mizoram Police registered separate cases naming each other’s political leaders and police and civil officials.
However, some of these cases were withdrawn following a truce.
The chief secretaries and DGPs of the two states on July 28, 2021 attended a meeting chaired by Union Home Secretary Ajay Bhalla where the decision to deploy a neutral central force (CRPF) at the clash site was taken.
Union Home Minister Amit Shah had also advised both the state governments to resolve their boundary dispute amicably.


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