7-member Congress committee to assess Assam-Mizoram border violence
The Indian National Congress on Tuesday constituted a seven-member committee to assess the Assam-Mizoram border dispute and the "ensuing violence that cost the lives of police personnel." Assam Congress chief Bhupen Bora will lead the committee and submit a detailed report. Tensions along the Assam-Mizoram border escalated on Monday after six Assam Police personal were killed during a gun battle with their Mizoram counterparts.
Congress' Deputy leader in the Lok Sabha, Gaurav Gogoi, moved an adjournment notice to discuss the border clash. He also sought an inquiry into reports that light machine guns (LMGs) were used during the firing in the disputed area. In a tweet, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi offered condolences to the families of martyrs and called the incident a failure of Home Minister Amit Shah.
On Monday, the Assam government released a statement saying that the Assam Police was "surrounded and attacked" by "miscreants from Mizoram side" and it was "visibly supported by the Mizoram Police." The Assam government claimed that LMGs were used during the attack on Assam Police personnel. It also informed that apart from the six deaths, over 50 were injured in the clash.
On Tuesday, Assam CM Himanta Biswa Sarma met injured police officials in the Cachar district. Sarma asked officials to send seriously injured personnel for higher-level treatment by air ambulance on priority. He also paid tribute to the personnel who were killed in Monday's clash.
Sarma told reporters, "The dispute is not regarding land but the encroachment of reserved forests is the issue. We have no settlements in the forest areas and, if Mizoram can give evidence, we will immediately carry out eviction." He said "not an inch of Assam will be conceded," adding that the state will move the Supreme Court to ensure nobody "encroaches reserve forests."
Meanwhile, the Mizoram government blamed the Assam Police for starting the firing and claimed that the Mizoram Police responded "spontaneously." Condemning the Assam government for "unjustified...intrusion and aggression" into Mizoram's territory, it said, "It all started with Assam Police's aggression into duty camps of CRPF and Mizoram police near Vairengte Auto-Rickshaw stand." It urged the Assam government to "create congenial environment for peaceful resolution."
As the situation along the Assam-Mizoram border worsened on Monday, the CMs of both the states have urged Home Minister Amit Shah to intervene. Mizoram CM Zoramthanga shared a video of a clash between locals and the Assam Police on Twitter and urged Shah's intervention in the matter. In response, Assam's Sarma also sought the intervention of Shah for peaceful dialogue between the states.
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.