Tensions along the Assam-Mizoram border flared up again, a week after the two states agreed to resolve the situation, NDTV reported on Thursday. Fresh blockades have come up in the area over the last two days.
One hundred trucks carrying goods were stranded on Wednesday as the residents of Cachar and Karimganj districts in Assam blocked the roads to Mizoram, according to The Hindu. The residents were protesting against the Mizoram Police’s alleged refusal to retreat from the area. The protests continued till Thursday.
Mizoram Home Minister Lalchamliana, meanwhile, said that the state will not withdraw forces from the border area till the situation returned to normal, PTI reported. He added that the state had accepted the demarcation under the Bengal Eastern Frontier Regulation of 1873 as the actual boundary of the two states.
Lalchamliana alleged that some residents of Assam had blocked the highways linking the state to Mizoram. He accused officials in Assam of instigating them. “People on either side of the borders should live in harmony as the present issue is not a communal issue but border standoff which entirely rests on governments of the two neighbouring states,” he said.
Cachar Deputy Commissioner Keerthi Jalli told The Hindu that the police were trying to de-escalate the situation.
The fresh unrest prompted Assam Additional Director General of Police (law and order) GP Singh to visit the area, PTI reported. Singh told reporters that everyone will respect the constitutional boundary of Assam. He also reviewed the law and order situation after a bomb attack on a school in Mizoram last week.
Officials in Cachar district also urged truckers to start going to Mizoram according to PTI. Sudeep Nath, the circle officer of Assam’s Sonai town, visited Lailapur area near the inter-state border and requested the people to end the blockade.
On October 21, the Mizoram government had agreed to pull back troops from the Assam border, where violent clashes had erupted on October 17 between the residents of the two states. At least four people were injured in the clashes. Assam promised to resume the movement of trucks carrying essential commodities to Mizoram.
This happened after the Centre intervened in the matter after days of simmering tension along the border. Union Home Minister Amit Shah held separate telephonic conversations with the chief ministers of Assam and Mizoram to resolve the stalemate between the two states.
Both the sides have their own version of what led to the escalation on October 17. Mizoram district officials and ethnic outfits alleged it began at noon when some residents of Cachar, in the presence of Assam police officials, dismantled a Mizoram Police post at a village called Saihapui, along the state border, and manhandled the personnel stationed there.
The Cachar district administration in Assam refuted the claims. “Some Mizo people came inside the Assam area and burned some temporary shops along the road,” Bhanwar Lal Meena, Cachar’s police superintendent, had told Scroll.in. “There was no aggression from the Assam side – all that happened was from the other side.”