6 cops killed in Assam-Mizoram border violence; Centre's intervention sought
Six police officers were killed as violence broke out at the disputed Assam-Mizoram border on Monday, Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said. Tensions escalated along the Assam-Mizoram border after reports of a fresh clash between locals and Assam Police emerged on Monday. The Chief Ministers of both states have urged Home Minister Amit Shah to intervene. Here are more details.
On Monday, Mizoram Chief Minister Zoramthanga shared a video on Twitter in which a group of locals can be seen clashing with Assam Police personnel. While sharing the video, Zoramthanga urged the Home Minister to intervene in the matter. In response, Assam Police claimed that miscreants from Mizoram were indulging in stone-pelting and attacking government officials from Assam.
Separately, in a tweet, Sarma urged Zoramthanga to investigate why civilians from his state were holding sticks and trying to incite violence on the Assam-Mizoram border. He also sought the intervention of the Home Minister and the Prime Minister's Office.
Sarma later tweeted that he was "deeply pained" about the deaths of six police personnel. "My heartfelt condolences to the bereaved families," he wrote. He added, "Clear evidences are now beginning to emerge that unfortunately show that Mizoram Police has used Light Machine Guns (LMG) against personnel of @assampolice. This is sad, unfortunate, and speaks volumes about the intention and gravity of the situation."
Shortly thereafter, Sarma again tweeted and assured Zoramthanga that Assam will maintain the status quo. "I have just spoken to Hon'ble Chief Minister Zoramthanga ji. I have reiterated that Assam will maintain status quo and peace between the borders of our state. I have expressed my willingness to visit Aizawl and discuss these issues if need be," Sarma said in the tweet.
Mizoram shares a 164.6 km long inter-state border with neighboring Assam. The boundary conflict is a long pending issue between the two states. Both states have accused each other of encroaching on their land. However, the situation worsened since June-end when Assam Police allegedly seized Aitlang hnar, about 5 km from Mizoram's border village Vairengte, accusing the neighboring state of encroaching on its territory.
Reportedly, in an "eviction drive" at Buarchep, Assam Police and officials damaged several crops and betel nut trees belonging to Mizo farmers on July 10. Two serial explosions were also reported from the border area on July 11. A grenade was reportedly hurled on an Assam government team visiting the border by suspected miscreants from Mizoram. However, Mizoram denied the allegation.
There have been multiple attempts to find a resolution to the ongoing conflicts between the two states. On July 9, a Chief Secretary-level meeting of both states was held in Delhi. But it ended inconclusively. Zoramthanga had also raised the Mizoram-Assam border issue on July 24 during a meeting of CMs of Northeastern states chaired by Amit Shah in Shillong.