ASSAM ASKS MIZORAM TO FURNISH DETAILS OF ‘CLAIMED TERRITORY’
Assam on Thursday asked Mizoram to furnish details of villages, including their locations and ethnicity of residents, in support of its claims over places that are currently within the bigger northeastern state’s territory.
The claims will have to be submitted within three months and then will be taken up by regional committees that would be formed by the two states for evolving an amicable solution to the vexed inter-state boundary dispute.
The decision was taken during a meeting between Assam Border Protection and Development Minister Atul Bora and Mizoram Home Minister Lalchamliana in Guwahati during the day.
A joint statement issued by the two states said that Mizoram will furnish the list of villages, their locations, geo-spatial extent, and ethnicity of the residents and other relevant details within three months to support their claim over lands that are currently in the state of Assam.
These claims will be examined by regional committees from both sides.
Both states agreed to maintain status quo and continue to ensure peace and harmony along the inter-state boundary.
The Mizoram delegation informed their Assam counterparts that there is unrest among areca nut growers in the hill state as they are facing problems during the transportation of their produce to Assam and other parts of the country.
Due to the illegal smuggling of areca nuts from neighbouring countries, there is strict checking at inter-state boundaries and consignments are seized if transporters don’t possess all the necessary documents.
Both states agreed to refer the issue to their respective chief ministers for an amicable solution.
The two states also agreed to continue their zero tolerance towards transportation of smuggled areca nuts from other countries. Assam shares a 164.6-km-long border with Mizoram.
The long-standing boundary dispute has its origin in a notification of 1875 issued during the British era that differentiated Lushai hills from the plains of Cachar, and another of 1933 that demarcated a boundary between Lushai hills and Manipur.
Mizoram insists the inter-state boundary should be demarcated on the basis of the 1875 notification, a corollary to the Bengal Eastern Frontier Regulation (BEFR) Act, 1873.
Mizoram leaders have been arguing against the demarcation notification of 1933, claiming that the Mizo society was not consulted, while Assam wants that notification to be enforced.
In one of the bloodiest skirmishes between the two states, six Assam Police personnel and one civilian were killed during a shootout between security forces of the neighbouring states along the inter-state boundary in July last year.
Several rounds of peace talks have been held between the administrations of the two northeastern states since then.