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Fresh tension along border

Aizawl, April 30: Mizoram home minister R. Lalzirliana today visited a disputed area on the Mizoram-Assam border as tension escalated following alleged violence in Buhchangphai village, 130km from here.

“Miscreants should not repeat such dastardly acts within the territory of Mizoram. We would not allow any miscreant to destroy farmhouses and crops of Mizoram farmers within the territory of Mizoram any more,” Lalzirliana said at Buhchangphai village today.

The farmhouses belonging to Mizo farmers were allegedly dismantled by Assam forest officials and Assam police on April 27, triggering fresh tension.

The Mizoram government deployed three platoons of India Reserve Battalion at the disputed site yesterday.

Two Assam forest officials, six armed Assam police personnel and 10 people belonging to the Bru community forcibly snatched 50 pieces of sawn timber, a goat and poultry from labourers working on a farm in Buhchangphai on April 23, Mizoram deputy inspector-general of police (northern range) Zorammuana said.

Four days later, 18 Assam forest officials, eight policemen and six civilians went to the same place and allegedly dismantled two mud huts on the same farm.

On Monday, Mizoram police lodged a case of dacoity against the Assam personnel and sent two platoons of its 1st India Reserve Battalion (IRB) to the disputed area. One more platoon was sent today.

Last evening, after Mizo villagers from the area rebuilt the farmhouses, about 30 Assam police personnel came and dismantled them again, Zorammuana alleged. Ground sources said the tension was palpable last evening with armed personnel from both sides standing face-to-face with just a strip of farmland between them.

Terming the incidents as “dacoity”, Lalzirliana ordered Mizoram police to find out the goons who dismantled the farmhouses and forcibly snatched the farmers’ properties. He told the 1st IRB headquartered at the nearby Mualvum village to open fire if need be. He said the area has belonged to Mizoram since the time of their ancestors.

The minister was accompanied by environment and forest minister Lalrinmawia Ralte and top police officials.

The Mizoram PCC strongly condemned “violence” unleashed by Assam officials. A resolution of the PCC stated that the area where Assam forest and police officials demolished the farmhouses is within the territorial limits of the state.

“The MPCC strongly and in unequivocal terms condemned the actions of Assam officials and called for immediate intervention of the central government to settle the Mizoram-Assam boundary dispute. Otherwise the Mizoram government will be compelled to reciprocate the Assam government’s action,” the resolution said.

Copies of the resolution were sent to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Union home minister Sushil Kumar Shinde, UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi besides Assam’s chief minister, home minister and environment and forest minister.


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