Tension along the state borders of Assam and Mizoram continued on Saturday with the blockade on National Highway 306 entering the fourth day. The Assam government has alleged that “bunker-like structures” were being set up inside its territory by Mizoram, reported PTI.
The boundary dispute took an ugly turn on October 17 after some 18 temporary huts and three dwelling units were damaged in attacks and counter-attacks by people on either side.
Cachar District Deputy Commissioner Keerthi Jalli wrote a letter to Mizoram’s Kolasib district authorities on Friday, saying that the acts of “aggression” in Kulicherra area will disturb peace and normalcy.
“It has also been observed that construction activities have been taken up on NH 306, with bunker like structures being set up with JCB movement,” Jalli wrote. “...it has been reported on 29/10/2020 that there has been an increase in Mizoram Police Personnel and IR Bn force in Kulicherra area nearby to the 990 No. Dholakhar LP School.”
Jalli noted in her letter that construction in Assam’s reserve forest area was unconstitutional and illegal. She also requested that the forces be withdrawn.
Meanwhile, the Mizoram government also claimed that the Assam Police, who were escorting oil tankers, had deserted the vehicles near the border, which left drivers vulnerable to attacks from miscreants. On Saturday, Mizoram Chief Secretary Lalnunmawia Chuaungo wrote to his Assam counterpart Jishnu Baruah.
“The personnel of Assam Police who escorted vehicles carrying POL (petroleum, oil, lubricant) from Mizoram House, Silchar to Mizoram deserted them near Lailapur and left them to fend for themselves and exposing them [drivers] to grave danger to their personal safety,” the Mizoram chief secretary wrote. “They barely managed to escape from the attack of some armed persons who threatened them and prevented them from proceeding towards Mizoram.”
Meanwhile, the chief secretary brought attention to the blockade on the National Highway 306, which has forced Mizoram to ferry resources from Manipur and Tripura, according to the Morung Express.
The district authorities of Karimganj and Mamit districts and Cachar and Kolasib districts were scheduled to meet in Assam on Saturday. However, the first meeting was inconclusive. The Kolasib district official did not attend the meeting. Karimganj DC Anbamuthan MP said that the Mamit district official had, in the meeting, said they would not withdraw their forces from Assam.
The blockade on the National Highway 306 at Lailapur in Cachar district has caused nearly 200 goods vehicles, going to Mizoram, being stuck. However, around 100 Assam-bound vehicles from Mizoram have returned. Demonstrators have refused to call off their protest, which has entered its fourth day.
Mizoram Home Minister Lalchamliana on Thursday said that his administration will not call off security personnel from the border with Assam till normalcy is restored. 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.
Last week, tensions along the Assam-Mizoram border flared up again, a week after the two states agreed to resolve the situation. 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 had promised to resume the movement of trucks carrying essential commodities to Mizoram.