The long-standing inter-state border dispute between Assam and Mizoram erupted into fresh violence on Monday. Five Assam police personnel were killed in an exchange of fire with their Mizoram counterparts after the protracted border row between the two northeastern states took a violent turn.
At least six Assam police personnel were killed and 80 people, including an SP, injured in the violent clashes.
A recent encroachment drive by the Assam Police is believed to have added to the tensions.
Here are 5 points on the Assam-Mizoram border dispute:
1. Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said six jawans of the state police force died ‘while defending constitutional boundary’ of the state. In another tweet, CM Sarma alleged that the Mizoram Police used “Light Machine Guns (LMG) against personnel of Assam Police”.
2. Mizoram CM Zoramthanga said his government “deeply regrets the needless injuries on both sides which could have been avoided”. A statement from the CMO also said that the government of Mizoram “strongly condemns the unjustified act of the government of Assam in this intrusion and aggression into the territory of Mizoram”.
3. At least two companies of the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) were deployed along the disputed area on the Assam-Mizoram border at around 5.30 pm on Monday. Announcements were also made on loudspeakers asking Assam and Mizoram police forces to withdraw from the disputed area.
4. In a statement, the Mizoram Home Minister Lalchamliana claimed that around 200 Assam Police personnel overran a post manned by the CRPF and another by the Mizoram Police near Vairengte auto-rickshaw stand at around 11.30 am on Monday. Unarmed locals of Vairengte town were also lathi-charged when they inquired about the situation, the Mizoram government said, adding, a volley of tear gas canisters and grenades were launched at Mizoram Police followed by firing from Assam side at around 4.50 pm.
5. Comparing the clash to the Jallianwala Bagh massacre, Assam minister Parimal Suklabaidya said nearly 80 people were injured. He also claimed that there was no firing from the Assam side of the inter-state border. Earlier, the Assam chief minister said earlier in the day that the superintendent of police (SP), Kolasib, had declared that violence by ‘civilians’ would not stop unless Assam Police withdrew from the disputed area.
The dispute stems from a notification of 1875 that differentiated the Lushai Hills from the plains of Cachar, and another of 1933, that demarcates a boundary between the Lushai Hills and Manipur.
A Mizoram Minister had told The Indian Express last year that Mizoram believes the boundary should be demarcated on the basis of the 1875 notification, which is derived from the Bengal Eastern Frontier Regulation (BEFR) Act, 1873.
Mizo leaders have argued in the past against the demarcation notified in 1933 because Mizo society was not consulted. MZP’s Vanlaltana said the Assam government follows the 1933 demarcation, and that was the point of conflict.
Before the incidents of Monday (July 26) and last October, the last time the boundary saw violence was in February 2018.
Both chief ministers have assured the home minister that the needful will be done to ensure peace and resolve the border issue amicably. Soon after, Mizoram Home Minister Lalchamliana said in his statement that following the intervention of Shah, the Assam Police have withdrawn from the place and the duty post have been handed back to CRPF personnel.