A long-standing inter-state border dispute between Assam and Mizoram erupted into fresh violence on Monday. Central forces have now been deployed in the area to bring the situation under control and prevent any more untoward incidents.
This latest clash was the culmination of tension simmering between locals of Lailapur village in Assam’s Cachar district and neighbouring Vairengte village in Mizoram’s Kolasib district. A recent encroachment drive by the Assam Police is believed to have added to the tensions. Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said six jawans of the state police force died ‘while defending constitutional boundary’ of the state. In another tweet, CM Sarma alleged that the Mizoram Police used “Light Machine Guns (LMG) against personnel of Assam Police”. There were reports of firing from the border area — which lie over Assam’s Cachar district and Mizoram’s Kolasib district — and attacks on government vehicles. Just earlier this week, Union Home Minister Amit Shah chaired a meeting of the chief ministers of all northeastern states in Shillong to discuss border disputes among other key issues.
Prior to that, Home Secretary Ajay Bhalla had called a meeting of the chief secretaries and DGPs of Assam and Mizoram in a bid to resolve the border dispute. The Chief Ministers of the two states had clashed on Twitter, and tagged Mr Shah in their posts. At the heart of the dispute over the 165-km Assam-Mizoram boundary are two border demarcations that go back to the days of British colonial rule, and disagreement over which demarcation to follow.