North East India will always be one, Mizoram Chief Minister Zoramthanga said on Friday after the Assam Police advised its residents not to travel to the neighbouring state due to border tensions.
In a tweet, Zoramthanga shared a government notice underlining that there will be no restrictions on non-residents of Mizoram travelling through the state’s Kolasib district, which borders Assam’s Cachar district and was the flashpoint of Monday’s skirmishes.
The incident led to the death of five Assam Police officers. While no casualties were suffered by Mizoram, the state government claimed that around 200 Assam Police personnel had crossed a duty post manned by the Central Reserve Police Force and the state police in Vairengte town in Kolasib.
In a separate order, the Assam Police had on Thursday said that they would inspect vehicles coming from Mizoram at the border entry points with the state to check trafficking of illegal drugs.
The Mizoram government notice, issued a day before Assam’s travel advisory, ruled out any such restrictions. “Mizo residents are also advised to allow no disturbance and to cause no harm to non-locals within Kolasib district in connection with the inter-state boundary issue at Mizoram-Assam border,” the notice said.
The notice also listed names and telephone numbers to report any problems faced by non-Mizos within Kolasib district.
Meanwhile, hours after Zoramthanga’s tweet, Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said that the Assam Police advisory did not amount to a curb on travelling to Mizoram, ANI reported.
“We have advised people to think before going to Mizoram as civilians have arms in their hands and this will continue until the Mizoram government seizes the weapons,” Sarma told reporters.
The two states share a 164.6-km-long border, which has long been a cause of dispute. Three districts in the south of Assam – Cachar, Hailakandi and Karimganj – share the border with Mizoram’s Kolasib, Mamit and Aizawl districts.
The states have sparred over it, sometimes violently. Several rounds of dialogue since 1994 have failed to resolve the disagreement.
In another tweet on Friday, Zoramthanga expressed hope that the central government would find an “amicable solution” to the dispute.
At a meeting chaired by Union Home Secretary Ajay Bhalla on Wednesday, both the sides agreed to the deployment of Central Armed Police Forces in the areas prone to conflict along the state border and National Highway 306.
Both the states also decided to withdraw all their police officers from the disputed site where the clashes occurred.