The Assam Police on Wednesday registered a case in connection with the killing of five of its officers on July 26 after clashes erupted along the state’s border with Mizoram.

The states share a 164.6-km-long border, which has long been a cause of dispute. The states have sparred over it, sometimes violently. Several rounds of dialogue since 1994 have failed to resolve the disagreement.

Three districts in the south of Assam – Cachar, Hailakandi and Karimganj – share the border with Mizoram’s Kolasib, Mamit and Aizawl districts.

Tensions escalated along the Assam-Mizoram border on Monday after reports of firing and clashes between the police of the two states emerged.

Special Director General of Police, Assam, GP Singh on Wednesday said that the incident occurred at the Inner Line Reserve Forest area of Cachar district in the state, along National Highway 306 and around 1.7 km southwards from Lailapur PP (patrolling points).

The case has been registered at the Dholai police station under sections of the Indian Penal Code, the Arms Act, and the Prevention of Damage to Public Property Act.

“Assam Police has prepared a picture gallery which is being further updated of Mizoram Police personnel and civilian miscreants who fired at Assam Police on July 26th,” Singh wrote in a series of tweets. “They would be brought to law.”

The senior Assam police officer said that a team of officials left for Delhi to take action “relating to conspiracy behind the incident in light of media interview of Rajya Sabha MP Sri K Vanlalvena indicative of his active role in conspiracy”.

Vanlalvena reportedly told a news channel that the Assam Police were lucky that all of their officers were not killed after they entered Mizoram, according to the Hindustan Times. He also allegedly warned that if Assam Police officials entered Mizoram again, then “we shall kill them all”, reported NDTV. could not independently verify the Mizoram MP’s comments.

The Assam Police also announced a reward of Rs 5 lakh for information leading to the arrest of “each of the individuals”.

In 1972, Mizoram was carved out of Assam and made into a separate Union Territory. In 1987, it became a full-fledged state.

Central forces to be deployed

The Assam and Mizoram governments, at a meeting chaired by Union Home Secretary Ajay Bhalla on Wednesday, agreed to the deployment of Central Armed Police Forces in the areas prone to conflict along the state border and National Highway 306, reported The Hindu.

Both the states have decided to withdraw all their police officers from the disputed site where the clashes occurred, and “agreed to continue mutual discussions to resolve the border issue in an amicable manner”, an unidentified home ministry official told the Hindustan Times.

After the meeting, Assam chief secretary Jishnu Baruah said that paramilitary forces will take over patrolling in the Veringte border area. “The process of withdrawal of state police is being worked out, he said, according to the newspaper.

Mizoram CS Chuaungo said the situation at the state border was peaceful now. “We will try to maintain peace,” he added. “There is no point indulging in violence. Forces are being withdrawn from the area”.

Meanwhile, a group of Congress leaders of the Assam unit, including state Pradesh Congress Committee President Bhupen Bora, Congress Legislative Party leader Debabrata Saikia and All India Mahila Congress Committee President Sushmita Dev, alleged that they were not allowed to visit the Mizoram border.

The politicians were asked to stop close to the Mizoram border on Wednesday by the Assam Police, saying that the situation should remain peaceful.

“We wonder how the central government’s intelligence could not figure out that such a big attack was being planned,” Gogoi said at a media briefing in Silchar. “At this moment, BJP has governments both at the Centre and in the state. Mizoram government is also a friend of the BJP. They could not initiate proper dialogue and provoked the common people to be violent. It is a failure of the central government led by the BJP.”

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