Assam-Mizoram border situation 'unacceptable', Sarma calls for talks
Six days after a violent clash between police forces of Assam and Mizoram claimed seven lives and injured over 50 people, Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma on Sunday said the incidents along the inter-state border are "unacceptable" to people of both the states and advocated a resolution through talks.
Assam Chief Minister Sarma, who has been charged with criminal conspiracy and attempt to murder in an FIR by Mizoram Police, also spoke of keeping alive the spirit of the North East in a twitter post.
The tweet comes after Union Home Minister Amit Shah spoke to both Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma and Mizoram CM Zoramthanga telephonically earlier in the day to defuse the border tension between the two Northeastern neighbours.
"Our main focus is on keeping the spirit of North-East alive. What happened along the Assam-Mizoram border is unacceptable to the people of both states.
"Honble CM @ZoramthangaCM had promised to call me post his quarantine. Border disputes can only be resolved through discussion," Sarma said in his tweet.
Despite an attempt by Shah to resolve the long standing border disuptes between Assam and its neighbours earlier this month through a meeting he chaired, at least six Assam Police personnel and one civilian were killed while defending a disputed boundary with Mizoram and more than 50 people injured, including the police chief of the district of Cachar.
The Mizoram police had lodged an FIR against Sarma and six Assam officials under various charges, including charges of attempt to murder and criminal conspiracy, at Vairengte police station.
The Assam Police has also issued summons to six officials of Mizoram government, including the deputy commissioner and superintendent of police of Kolasib district, and ordered them to appear at Dholai police station on Monday.
Centre to demarcate boundaries using satellite
The Centre has decided to demarcate boundaries of the Northeastern states through satellite imaging to settle inter-state border disputes that are often becoming a cause of concern and sometimes even leading to violence.
Two senior government functionaries said the task has been given to the North Eastern Space Application Centre (NESAC), a joint initiative of the Department of Space (DoS) and the North Eastern Council (NEC).
The NESAC helps augment the developmental process in the Northeast region by providing advanced space technology support.
The inter-state border disputes have come under fresh focus recently after five Assam Police personnel and a civilian were killed in clashes along the Assam-Mizoram border.
The idea for demarcation of inter-state boundaries through satellite imaging was mooted by Union Home Minister Amit Shah a few months ago.
Shah had suggested roping in NESAC for mapping the inter-state borders and forests in the Northeastern region and coming up with a scientific demarcation of boundaries between states.
The Shillong-based NESAC is already using space technology for flood management in the region.
Since there will be scientific methods in the demarcation of borders, there will no scope for any discrepancy and there shall be better acceptability of the boundary solutions by the states, the government functionaries said.
Once the satellite mapping is done, the boundaries of Northeastern states could be drawn and the disputes could be resolved permanently, they said.
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 1993, 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 lands.
The major objectives of the NESAC are: to provide an operational remote sensing and geographic information system-aided natural resource information base to support activities on development, management of natural resources and infrastructure planning in the region.
It provides operational satellite communication applications services in the region in education, health care, disaster management support, and developmental communication.
The other objectives include taking up research in the area of space and atmospheric science and establishing an instrumentation hub and networking with various academic institutions of the region.
Also, to enable single window delivery of all possible space-based support for disaster management and to set up a regional level infrastructure for capacity building in the field of geospatial technology.