Aizawl: Some headway appears to have been made in the inter-state boundary conflict that has led to an 11-day blockade of roads leading into Mizoram from Assam, effectively cutting off the main supply lines into the southernmost state of the Northeast.
Mizoram Chief Secretary Lalnunmawia Chuaungo told journalists in Aizawl Sunday afternoon that Assam has agreed to clear the blockade. In return, Mizoram will deploy three companies of Border Security Forces (BSF) personnel in the three areas that form the main flashpoints on the boundary, following Assam’s objections about the presence of Mizoram police personnel in the region.
The state Chief Secretary said the BSF was being deployed in the area Sunday afternoon. They had reached the state Saturday. The personnel of the armed Indian Reserve Battalion Police personnel — which function under the state government — posted in the area will be redeployed elsewhere, he added.
Highways leading into Mizoram from Assam’s three southern districts of Cachar, Hailakandi and Karimganj have been blockaded since 28 October, forcing the Mizoram government to begin exploring alternative supply lines via other neighbouring states.
The two states have been locked in a boundary dispute for a long time, with Assam accepting the boundary defined by a 1933 notification and Mizoram sticking to an earlier demarcation drawn up in 1875.
Amid the current stand-off, Assam long demanded that Mizoram withdraw its forces from the inter-state boundary at certain places that both states claim as their own. Chuaungo said the highways were blockaded in an attempt to make Mizoram concede to this demand.
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The ongoing tensions began last month and intensified following clashes on 17 October on the border near the villages of Vairengte (Mizoram) and Lailapur (Assam), which left several people injured and also led to the burning down of makeshift huts along the highway.
The central government had subsequently deployed several companies of the Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB) to Assam and the Border Security Force (BSF) to Mizoram in an attempt to defuse the crisis.
Chuaungo said a meeting between top officials of the central government, Assam and Mizoram was initiated by the home ministry Sunday, where the agreement was reached.
He said BSF personnel will be deployed near Vairengte, in Kolasib district, through which National Highway 306 passes. This highway is blockaded at Lailapur in Assam’s Cachar district.
Personnel of the the force will also be deployed near Thinghlun, a village in Mizoram’s Mamit district, near the spot where the current imbroglio began on 9 October after suspected miscreants from Assam’s Karimganj district allegedly burned down a local resident’s hut. Mizoram has filed an FIR in the incident.
BSF personnel will also be deployed near Saihapui V, also in Kolasib, where tensions escalated after officials from Assam allegedly tore down a Covid-19 check-gate set up by the village administration and where explosions at a school have threatened to further escalate tensions.
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Is The Print aware that due to blockage of the National Highways from Assam into Mizoram, our only arterial routes from the rest of India, we in Mizoram are being illegally deprived of essential commodities? We are without food supply, without cooking gas and without vehicle fuel. There are hundreds of trucks waiting at the border and the neither the press nor the Central Govt seem to care. Is the Centre more interested in ensuring a BJP win in the upcoming Assam elections? We are starving and scared here in Mizoram. Help us.
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