Guwahati: A new escalation between Assam and Mizoram was sparked on Tuesday with a report that people from Mizoram were constructing a road in southern Assam’s Hailakandi district.
Gaurav Upadhyay, the Superintendent of Police in Hailakandi, said the road was being constructed near Haticherra village inside the reserve forest over the last few days.
“We first got the information from the Forest Department about the road being built on our side. Subsequently, we contacted our Mizoram counterparts, who then stopped the construction. There was no activity in the last two days.”
“However, we got information that three JCBs were seen today at the location. So, Hailakandi DC and I will visit the spot on Wednesday with officials concerned and do a spot verification. Only then we will be able to tell the details,” Upadhyay told PTI on Tuesday.
An explosion reported near the Baicherra forward outpost of the Assam Police on October 29 caused tension between Assam and Mizoram along the inter-state border in Hailakandi district. A member of the Mizoram Police was arrested for his alleged involvement in the incident.
Six members of the Assam Police and one civilian were killed and over 50 people were injured in a bloody confrontation between the two Northeastern states on July 26.
On August 17 again, miscreants from Mizoram fired at workers engaged in the construction of a road in Hailakandi district, which prompted Assam’s police force to react accordingly.
Several workers from Mizoram were trying to build a bridge on August 20 near the Ramnathpur police station area. When Assam Police objected to the bridge construction, more than 40-50 security personnel from Mizoram reached the site.
Around 200 Assam Police personnel and commandos under Upadhyay’s leadership reached Kachurthal two days later and the issue was settled without any violence.
There is 164.6 km of border between Assam’s Barak Valley districts of Cachar, Karimganj, and Hailakandi and three areas of Mizoram: Aizawl, Kolasib, and Mamit.
An 1875 notification that distinguished Lushai Hills from the plains of Cachar, as well as a 1933 boundary demarcation between Manipur and Lushai Hills, are at the root of the long-standing dispute.
Mizoram insists the boundary should be drawn in accordance with the 1875 notification, a corollary to the Bengal Eastern Frontier Regulation (BEFR) Act, 1873.
Mizoram leaders, on the other hand, have argued against the demarcation notification of 1933, asserting that the Mizo society was not consulted. However, Assam wants that notification enforced.