The border dispute with Assam will be resolved “amicably through meaningful dialogue”, Mizoram Chief Minister Zoramthanga said on Sunday.
Tensions escalated along the Assam-Mizoram border on July 26 after reports of firing and clashes between the police of the two states emerged. The states share a 164.6-km-long border, which has long been a cause of dispute.
During the clashes, five Assam Police officers lost their lives. 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 state police in Vairengte town of Mizoram’s Kolasib district.
On Sunday, Zoramthanga asserted that he had discussed the matter with his Assam counterpart Himanta Biswa Sarma and Home Minister Amit Shah, and that they agree with his view. Zoramthanga also urged the citizens of Mizoram to “avoid posting sensitive messages” on social media.
Hours after Zoramthanga’s statement, Sarma said that the main focus was on “keeping the spirit of North-East alive”.
“What happened along the Assam-Mizoram border is unacceptable to the people of both states,” Sarma tweeted. “Honourable Chief Minister Zoramthanga had promised to call me post his quarantine. Border disputes can only be resolved through discussion.”
The tweets came two days after the Mizoram police filed a First Information Report against Sarma, four police officers and two bureaucrats on charges of attempt to murder and criminal conspiracy in connection with the clashes at the inter-state border on July 26.
Responding to the FIR filed against him, Sarma had on Saturday demanded that the investigation of the case should be handed over to a “neutral agency”. In a tweet, Sarma said that he has conveyed his demand to Zoramthanga.
A day later, the Mizoram government said it was ready to withdraw the FIR filed against Sarma, PTI reported.
“I will hold discussion with the police officer who filed the FIR, and if there is no legal fit, we would like to remove the name of Assam chief minister from the FIR,” Mizoram Chief Secretary Lalnunmawia Chuango said.
The official added that Zoramthanga did not approve the inclusion of Sarma’s name in the FIR.
On Friday, Zoramthanga had asserted that North East India will remain united. In a tweet, he had 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.
This came after the Assam Police advised its residents not to travel to the neighbouring state due to border tensions.
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.
Following the recent clashes, the two states, 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. Both the states also decided to withdraw all their police officers from the disputed site where the clashes occurred.
Now, the Central Reserve Police Force has increased its deployment in these regions. A total of 500 personnel have started patrolling National Highway 306 between the two states. Two more companies are on standby.