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Border row: Assam, Mizoram agree to deploy neutral central forces

Source: PTI   -  Edited By: Utkarsh Mishra
Last updated on: July 29, 2021 01:34 IST
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The chief secretaries and police chiefs of Assam and Mizoram at a meeting called by the Union Home Ministry in Delhi agreed to the deployment of a neutral central armed police force along National Hghway 306, headed by a senior central police officer to keep peace along the border of the two states.

 

IMAGE: Police deployed at Lalilapur police patrol post in Cachar district bordering Mizoram following the interstate border clash, on Wednesday. Photograph: ANI Photo

The meeting also decided that the two states will 'work out arrangement in coordination' with the centre to facilitate the functioning of the central peace-keeping force besides agreeing to continue talks to resolve the border dispute, according to top Mizoram officials.

The agreement dated Wednesday which was signed by the chief secretaries of both states and by a top home ministry functionary said, "Neutral force to be deployed in the disturbed Assam-Mizoram border area along NH 306 under a senior CAPF (Central Armed Police Force) officer."

It also said 'both the state governments should continue discussions mutually to resolve the border issue in an amicable manner', according to the document showed by a Mizoram official to PTI.

Union Home Secretary Ajay Bhalla chaired the meeting which was attended by Assam Chief Secretary Jishnu Baruah and Director General of Police Bhaskar Jyoti Mahanta and their respective Mizoram counterparts Lalnunmawia Chuaungo and SBK Singh, Union Ministry of Home officials said.

"The central government is concerned over the Assam-Mizoram border dispute which led to violence and deaths ... The objective of the meeting is to lower the tension, bring peace and possibly find a solution," a home ministry official said.

The Director General of CRPF also attended the meeting as the personnel of the paramilitary force have been deployed in the Assam-Mizoram border areas where tension is high, the official said.

Six Assam Police personnel and a civilian were killed and over 50 others including a superintendent of police were injured when the Mizoram Police opened fire on a team of Assam officials Monday.

The incident came two days after Union Home Minister Amit Shah held talks with the chief ministers of eight northeastern states and underscored the need to resolve lingering border disputes.

The border on Wednesday remained tense but calm with state police forces from both sides pulling back from the border by at least 100 metres.

Meanwhile, Barak Valley which borders Mizoram observed a 'bandh' on Wednesday to protest the killings, which effectively resulted in blockading Mizoram as trucks travelling to that state piled up in long queues, waiting out the protests. In turn, prompting Mizoram to demand an end to the logjam.

Assam's Barak Valley districts of Cachar, Karimganj and Hailakandi share a 164-km long border with three Mizoram districts of Aizawl, Kolasib and Mamit.

Tension along the inter-state border in Cachar and Hailakandi districts has been escalating since last year, with frequent incidents of burning of houses and encroachment of land, forcing police forces of both states to post pickets to protect citizens.

This is however not the first instance of a border row in the northeast turning into a shooting match.

There have been previous instances of such flare-ups including one between Assam and Nagaland in 1985, which led to the death of more than 40 people.

Mizoram was a district of Assam before it was carved out as a separate union territory in 1972 after years of insurgency.

Till Mizoram became a separate entity, the district's borders did not really matter for locals.

However, over time the border issue cropped up as perceptions over where the boundary should be, differed.

While Mizoram wants it to be along an inner line notified in 1875 to protect tribals from outside influence, which Mizos feel is part of their historical homeland, Assam wants it to be demarcated according to district boundaries drawn up much later.

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Source: PTI  -  Edited By: Utkarsh Mishra© Copyright 2021 PTI. All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution of PTI content, including by framing or similar means, is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent.
 
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