Bomb blast damages school near Assam-Mizoram border
After a brief lull, tension along the Assam-Mizoram border escalated again on Saturday after unidentified miscreants bombed a government educational institute in Hailakandi district, triggering fear among locals, a senior police officer said. Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma stated that a probe will be carried out into the incident.
The blast that took place at Sahebmarra around midnight damaged a major portion of a primary school, close to the interstate border, though no casualty has been reported so far, Hailakandi Superintendent of Police Gaurav Upadhyaya told reporters.
Official sources here said that locals in the area suspect that miscreants from the other side of the border bombed the school.
A police officer in Mizoram's Kolasib district, bordering Hailakandi, however, asserted that there was no reason for anyone to explode bomb in Sahebmarra, which isn't a disputed area .
"Why should people from Mizoram go and explode bombs in a place that falls in Assam. It is not a disputed area," Kolasib Superintendent of Police (SP) Vanlalfaka Ralte pointed out.
According to Upadhyaya, more details will be available after a thorough investigation.
Sarma, on his part, asserted that he will write to his Mizoram counterpart and request for a probe into the blast.
As the incident occurred within "our territory, the Assam police will conduct an inquiry into it," the CM maintained.
He also said that intelligence reports had suggested sporadic incidents may occur along the border and "I had mentioned about it in the assembly on Friday".
It will take time for complete peace to return to Assam's border with Mizoram, he added.
Meanwhile, AIUDF MLA from Katlicherra, Suzam Uddin Laskar, alleged that people from Mizoram have initiated road construction work in Chuninullah area of Hailakandi, and demanded immediate action from the Assam government.
He claimed that inaction on the part of the state government has made the boundary dispute critical.
Responding to the allegation, the Kolasib SP said local village leaders on the two sides of the border have mutually agreed to construct roads for the convenience of people and ease of movement.
Border dispute between Assam and Mizoram had reached a flashpoint with six Assam policemen and a civilian losing lives in a bloody conflict on July 26 in Cachar district.
A series of complaints was filed in both the states against top officials, with the Mizoram Police even registering a case against the Assam chief minister.
Assam followed it up by issuing a travel advisory cautioning people from travelling to Mizoram while several organisations resorted to a road blockade to prevent trucks from moving to the neighbouring state.
It was after the Centre intervened and neutral forces were deployed along the interstate border, the situation eased considerably with the states withdrawing cases against each other.
Two Assam ministers Atul Bora and Ashok Singhal visited Aizawl and the both the state governments subsequently issued a joint statement pledging to maintain status quo and peace along the border.
The Assam government also persuaded the organisations staging a blockade to lift it and free movement of vehicles resumed from August 8.
Tension along the border with Mizoram in Cachar and Hailakandi districts of Assam has been building up since October 2020 with frequent incidents of land encroachment, grenade blasts reported from these areas.
The two states share a 164.6-km border spanning across Assam's districts of Cachar, Hailakandi and Karimganj, and Mizoram's Kolasib, Mamit and Aizawl.
The long-standing dispute has its origin in two notifications -- one of 1875 that differentiated Lushai Hills from the plains of Cachar, and another of 1933 that demarcates a boundary between Lushai Hills and Manipur.
Mizoram insists that the boundary demarcation made in the 1875 notification be followed.