Aizawl, Sept. 12: The continuing boundary dispute between Assam and Mizoram has flared up once again after Assam allegedly planted a boundary pillar in a paddy field of the neighbouring state near Vairengte, on the inter-state border.
Leaders of Zoram Nationalist Party (ZNP) subsequently destroyed the pillar on September 3.
ZNP legislator K. Liantlinga warned that any further inaction on part of the Mizoram government over the dispute would only aggravate the issue.
“If the government does not want the mob to rule, it should take up the issue with the Assam government immediately,” he said during a news conference here today.
Liantlinga said most of the encroachers were illegal migrants, who were being encouraged to grab tribal lands by vested interests in the Assam administration.
“We will do anything to stop such encroachment on our ancestral lands,” said the legislator.
According to a complaint filed by C. Zoparliana, president of Aitlang Sihpui, a boundary pillar appeared suddenly in the paddy field of Lalhmangaiha, which the farmers reported to the sub-divisional officer (civil) of Vairengte sub-division on September 4.
The letter said the farmers in the area were surprised, as the land had been cultivated by generations of families living there and asked the official to remove the pillar.
However, since there was no action taken by the government for more than a week, ZNP members decided to remove the pillar on their own.
“There is nothing more important than protecting our land,” Liantlinga said. Criticising the various state governments of the past, which had failed to settle the boundary issue with Assam, he said about 100 hectares of paddy fields at Singkili, adjoining the Aitlang Sihpui fields had been allegedly grabbed some years back. “We will not keep quiet this time,” he warned.
The party, which collected documents from various offices in Silchar, found that 24 people had filed a complaint on August 22, accusing their Mizoram counterparts of smashing a boundary pillar on August 16. The complaint stated they were “living in the village Dholaikhai for the past 40 years”.
However, enquiries from the authorities in Silchar revealed that only 13 people out of the 24 complainants could be traced.
The ZNP legislator said Mizoram’s present boundary, drawn unilaterally by Assam under the North East Reorganisation Act, 1971, was not acceptable to people here as it left much of Mizo tribal lands in Assam. “It was a bitter day for us when the Mizo National Front accepted it in the peace agreement signed in 1986,” Liantlinga said.
The ZNP claims the actual boundary should be the one agreed between the British and Mizo chiefs in 1875.