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Assam, Mizoram CMs talk about amicably resolving border standoff

Move comes six days after a flare-up left six Assam policemen dead
Himanta Biswa Sarma
Himanta Biswa Sarma
File picture

Umanand Jaiswal   |   Guwahati   |   Published 02.08.21, 01:13 AM

Chief ministers of Mizoram and Assam on Sunday talked about amicably resolving the inter-state border standoff, six days after a flare-up left six Assam policemen dead.

Mizoram chief minister Zoramthanga tweeted on Sunday morning: “As per telephonic discussion with Union Home Minister and Assam Chief Minister, we agreed to resolve the Mizoram-Assam border issue amicably through meaningful dialogue.”


He also urged the people of Mizoram to avoid posting sensitive messages and make judicial use of social media platforms.

Hours later, Assam chief minister Himanta Biswa Sarma tweeted: “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.”

He also said in Guwahati that Assam was all for peace. “We should sit once with the Centre and decide how we will live in the future because we are all for peace and development.... Assam government is ready to talk to Mizoram government at any point of time... whether it is in Aizawl or Silchar or Guwahati or Delhi. We have absolutely no issue if Mizoram CM wants any discussion,” Sarma said.

Sources said Union home minister Amit Shah had asked both states to ensure peace and sort things out amicably. The clashes in which six Assam policemen died had erupted days after Shah discussed the inter-state border disputes in the Northeast with the chief ministers of the region.

Saturday’s agreement between Assam and Nagaland to withdraw their police forces from their disputed inter-state border along Dessoi Valley Reserve Forest appears to have played a role in the two states adopting a conciliatory tone.

The border dispute between Assam and Nagaland dates back to 1963 when Nagaland was carved out of Assam.

Sarma, however, reiterated the Assam government’s plan to move the Supreme Court in connection with the border issue within the next 15 days.

Sources said an agreement on the lines of the Assam-Nagaland pact, where the state forces would withdraw and their space would be taken up by neutral force to maintain order, might be reached. Both states will also maintain status quo on the border, not allowing any fresh encroachment or construction till a final decision is taken.

Officials said things had started moving in the right direction.

“After the public posturing by both sides, it is difficult to pull back unilaterally. It will have to be a simultaneous withdrawal just like what we are witnessing on the Assam-Nagaland front but it is a good sign that both sides are willing to talk things out. We can expect some kind of breakthrough very soon,” a source said.

Cachar, Hailakandi and Karimganj districts of Assam share a border with Mizoram’s Kolasib, Mamit and Aizawl districts. The border dispute started after Mizoram was carved out of Assam in 1972. The length of the border is 164km.

While Mizoram claims the inner-line reserve forest area as the actual boundary between the two states, Assam relies on the constitutional boundary drawn by the Survey of India in 1933. Mizoram says the 1933 boundary had been “imposed” on it.

The inner-line reserve forest was notified in 1875 under the Bengal Eastern Frontier Regulation of 1873. It was demarcated by the British to protect tribal land and not allow non-tribals to intrude.

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