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September 2021
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National News
Assam, Mizoram trade barbs over deployment of security forces at interstate border
 
Silchar: Assam and Mizoram exchanged barbs over deployment of security forces along the interstate border on Thursday, days after both sides were locked in a fierce gun battle near the boundary that left six policemen and a civilian dead.

The Union Ministry of Home Affairs has ordered deployment of CRPF personnel at the Assam-Mizoram border following which Assam withdrew its forces from the post, Cachar Guardian Minister Ashok Singhal said.

He, however, alleged that Mizoram was yet to do so and it wanted to settle the dispute “by arms and ammunitions”, which is the “wrong approach”.

"Peace and harmony is yet to be established in the border area, but we want to make it clear that not an inch of Assam''s land will be allowed to be taken away by Mizoram,” Singhal asserted.

A defiant Mizoram government, meanwhile, claimed that a large contingent of Assam Police personnel were being mobilised at the interstate border.

Mizoram Home Secretary Lalbiaksangi, in a letter to the Additional Secretary in-charge of the Northeast on Thursday, said armed personnel of Assam Police were moving Dholai and Hawaithang areas in Cachar district, where violence had erupted on Monday.

“In view of the tense situation at present, mobilisation of a large contingent of police at the interstate border by Assam is quite objectionable, and will lead to apprehensions and panic among the people on both sides,” she said.

Lalbiaksangi also urged the Union home ministry to issue instructions to the Assam government to refrain from such “reinforcement”.

The Cachar guardian minister said Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma wants the dispute to be resolved through dialogue.

"We want peace, and have handed over our post to the CRPF, but the Mizoram government has still not withdrawn its personnel from the post, which is sad,” Singhal said.

The minister, who visited Lailapur near the interstate border, assured the locals that all measures will be taken by the Assam government to ensure the safety and security of the residents in the area and appealed to them to not panic.

On Wednesday, during a meeting chaired by Union Home Secretary Ajay Kumar Bhalla in Delhi, both the state governments had agreed to deploy Central Armed Police Force personnel in the disturbed areas under the supervision of the home ministry.

Earlier in the day, Singhal along with a delegation reviewed the prevailing situation and held talks with officials at the border.

They then met the families of deceased constables Manjurul Haque Barbhuiya and Shyamsundar Dusat and gave cheques amounting to Rs 50 lakh each.

A Cachar district official had on Thursday morning said the situation along the Assam-Mizoram was now "calm and under control".

At least seven people, including six policemen, were killed and more than 50 injured in a violent clash and firing between forces of the two states on the outskirts of Vairengte in Mizoram’s Kolasib district and near Lailapur in Assam on Monday.

Tension along the border with Mizoram in Cachar and Hailakandi districts of Assam have been escalating since October 2020 with frequent incidents of burning of houses and encroachment of land. The two states share a 164.6-km border between Assam''s Cachar, Hailakandi and Karimganj districts, and Mizoram’s Kolasib, Mamit and Aizawl.

Both states have differing interpretations of their territorial border. While Mizoram believes that its border lies along an ‘inner line’ drawn up in 1875 to protect tribals from outside influence, Assam goes by a district demarcation done in the 1930s.


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