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Mob burns down 40 houses

Aizawl, April 29: Tension in the Vaphai sector of the Indo-Myanmar border district of Champhai in Mizoram exploded when a mob burnt down all 40 houses in Saikhumphai for defying the order to vacate the village today.

Five persons were injured in the confrontation with police after a Gauhati High Court order yesterday squashed the state government’s order given in October last year asking the Saikhumphai people to vacate the village and set up their homes in Vaphai.

The court asked the government to compensate them for the eviction and protect Saikhumphai.

The state government had deployed more than three platoons of armed personnel but this could not stop the mob from torching all the houses, except three churches, an Anganwadi camp and a building occupied by the police.

All the people of the village had already fled to the neighbouring areas.

The Vaphai village leaders have been claiming that Myanmarese nationals have grabbed their village land in the border hamlet of Saikhumphai.

So long as they remained under the Vaphai village jurisdiction there was no problem, but trouble brewed two years ago over claims that the Saikhumphai people were seeking to set up a village independent of Vaphai.

The Vaphai Joint Action Committee has been supported by the Mizoram government, which had issued orders in line with the committee demands during the past year.

The incident occurred after Justice Ujjail Bhuyan of the Gauhati High Court, Aizawl bench, delivered a judgment on Friday, squashing the orders of the state.

The court directed the deputy commissioner of Champhai to ensure the return of those who had shifted to Vaphai, besides paying adequate compensation to those villagers whose house were dismantled earlier and reconstruct them.

Reports said Myanmarese nationals who had earlier settled in the hamlet were already deported but the Vaphai village leaders could not accept the fact that an “illegal” settlement has sprung up on a land under their jurisdiction.

Local leaders said this is a sheer case of border mismanagement by the state and central governments in this sensitive front, forcing border residents to take matters into their own hands.


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