New Delhi: Assam and Mizoram on Friday (November 26) resolved to maintain peace and tranquillity along their inter-state border and decided to set up committees to settle the boundary disputes which claimed the lives of five Assam Police personnel and a civilian in July.
The decisions were taken at a meeting of Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma and his Mizoram counterpart Zoramthanga in the presence of Union Home Minister Amit Shah here.
This was the second consecutive meeting in two days between the chief ministers. They had also met on Thursday (November 25) night over dinner.
In a series of tweets, Sarma said chief minister-level talks will take place from time to time. “Heartening to share that I along with HCM Mizoram Sri @ZoramthangaCM met Hon HM Sri @AmitShah this evening in New Delhi. We reaffirmed our resolve to maintain peace and tranquillity at our borders.
“It has been decided that both the states will constitute committees for resolving the border disputes through discussions. Towards this end, Chief Ministers’ level talks will also take place from time to time. We’re grateful to Union HM for his kind guidance and support (sic),” Sarma tweeted.
Assam and Mizoram share a 164-km-long border.
Zoramthanga had said on Thursday (November 25) that both the state governments “will try” to increase the fencing all along the border.
The two chief ministers’ meetings in the national capital were held apparently following an intervention of the Union Home Ministry, which has been trying to resolve the border disputes, officials said.
The Union government wants a peaceful resolution to the border dispute between Assam and Mizoram and the Union home minister is believed to be in regular touch with the two chief ministers, an official said.
Following the July 26 violence, both Assam and Mizoram Police registered separate cases naming each other’s political leaders and police and civil officials. However, some of these cases were withdrawn following a truce.
The chief secretaries and DGPs of the two states on July 28 attended a meeting chaired by Union Home Secretary Ajay Bhalla where the decision to deploy a neutral central force (CRPF) at the clash site was taken.
Five Assam Police personnel and a civilian were killed and over 50 others, including a superintendent of police, were injured when the Mizoram Police opened fire on a team of the Assam officials on July 26 following clashes along the two states’ border.
While the Mizoram government claimed that a 509 square-mile stretch of the inner-line reserve forest notified in 1875 under the Bengal Eastern Frontier Regulation of 1873 belongs to it, the Assam side insisted that the constitutional map and boundary drawn by the survey of India in 1933 was acceptable to it.
After a massive tussle in 2018, the border row resurfaced in August last year and then in February this year. However, the escalating tensions were successfully defused after a series of parleys with the intervention of the Centre.
On June 5, two abandoned houses along the Mizoram-Assam border were burnt down by unidentified persons, fuelling tension along the volatile inter-state border.
Nearly a month after this incident, a fresh border standoff cropped up again with both trading charges of encroachment on each other’s lands.
Mizoram accused Assam of encroaching upon its land and forcefully seizing the Aitlang area about 5 km west of Vairengte village. On the other hand, Assam accused Mizoram of building structures and planting betel nut and banana saplings allegedly 10 kilometres inside Hailakandi district.
Two makeshift camps erected by Mizoram police on the disputed area were damaged by Assam police during a recent confrontation.
Officials said razing of two camps constructed by Mizos and also a COVID-19 testing centre built by them was part of the efforts to foil Mizoram’s bid to capture its land on the border.