Violence at Assam-Mizoram border leaves several injured, Centre intervenes
The Centre has called a meeting between Assam and Mizoram after a violent clash at the states' border on Saturday evening left at least seven people injured. Both the states dialed the federal government over the situation, which is currently under control. Huts and temporary shops were set on fire in the volatile regions, prompting both states to swing into action. Here's what happened.
The volatile area is in Mizoram's Kolasib district and Assam's Cachar district. As per the Mizoram information department, people from Lailapur village of Cachar district fought with locals of Vairengte in Kolasib district. At the center of this incident was a coronavirus testing facility, set up by Mizoram administration, in an area claimed by Assam. The facility was meant to test Mizoram-bound truck drivers.
The Northeastern states share a 164.6 km-long-boundary. In 1972, Mizoram became a union territory after splitting from Assam. It gained statehood status in 1987. Clashes at the border aren't new and in most cases, the states blame the other one for sparking tensions. After the latest clash, locals told NDTV that young men from Mizoram attacked truck drivers and torched over 15 shops and small houses.
On Sunday, Assam's Minister for Environment and Forest, Parimal Suklabaidya, visited Lailapur and assured locals in border areas of security. He blamed "miscreants on another side of the border" for the tension. Moreover, he asked people not to disrupt peace and tranquility, adding that "the government is with you all and will take necessary steps." Deputy Commissioner, Cachar, Keerthi Jalli, also visited the spot.
Separately, Cachar SP, Bhanwar Lal Meena, who also arrived at the area yesterday, said, "We got reports of a few temporary houses and stalls being burnt. We are taking all possible steps to ensure such incidents do not recur in near future."
Evidently, the tension spilled over to the neighboring Karimganj district as well. Security was upped after conflicts in Ratabari and Patharkandi areas. Southern Assam range Deputy Inspector General of Police Dilip Kumar Dey, said, "In Lailapur, they (Mizoram police) tried to build a check-gate 1.5 km inside Assam. We have objected to it. In Karimganj, they are 2.5 km inside our territory."
Unsurprisingly, the administration in Mizoram traded guns with Assam. At a meeting on Sunday, the state cabinet "expressed regret at the unilateral and provocative acts of disturbing peace and harmony in the border areas at three locations." Karimganj and Cachar district administrations were held responsible for the tension. The Home Department suggested people against exploiting the current crisis to further their "personal/collective motives."
Reportedly, Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal, a BJP member, apprised Prime Minister Narendra Modi's office and the Union Home Ministry about the situation. He also spoke to his Mizoram counterpart Zoramthanga, who is a member of the Mizo National Front. Sonowal is believed to have called on Zoramthanga for joint efforts to settle disputes peacefully. Mizoram government also approached the Centre.
Today, Union Home Secretary Ajay Kumar Bhalla will be chairing a review meeting between chief secretaries of both the states. "The issue has been taken up with the Government of India. Hopefully, it should be settled soon. Special DGP (Border) has been advised to visit the affected area," said Assam ADGP (Law & Order) GP Singh, according to Indian Express.