Assam-Mizo clashes because of Himanta Biswa Sarma's ‘expansionist’ tendencies, says MP

Mizo National Front Rajya Sabha MP K. Vanlalvena at Parliament House. File photo

Mizo National Front Rajya Sabha MP K. Vanlalvena at Parliament House. File photo

Assam is illegally occupying more than 509 square miles of the Mizo territory, Mizo National Front (MNF) Member of Parliament, K. Vanlalvena said in an interview with The Hindu . He blamed the newly elected Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma’s “expansionist” tendencies for the recent flare-up between Mizoram and Assam.

Watch | What is Assam-Mizoram border conflict?

On July 26, an exchange of fire between the police forces of both the States left six Assam policemen and a civilian dead and 60 others injured. Assam claimed the firing was one-sided and unprovoked while Mizoram said they had retaliated to the aggression by the Assam police.

Mr. Vanlalvena was booked by the Assam police for his public comments on the clashes where he said that the Mizoram police should have “killed them all”. The case has been withdrawn now as the two sides are trying to work out a peace deal.

The MNF government in Mizoram is backed by the BJP. When asked if the BJP was responsible for this recent flare-up, Mr. Vanlalvena said, “I cannot pin the blame on any one party. I think we have reached this situation primarily because of the uncontrolled influx of the Bangladeshis. The population of “infiltrators” is now 60% in Assam”.

The two States share a 164.6-km volatile border with each government accusing the other of not maintaining the status quo and encouraging its people to encroach. Though the border conflict was decades old, the July 26 clashes, Mr. Vanlalvena said, had been in the making for the last several months. He said that the Assam police made several “incursions” into the Mizo Territory destroying plantations and demolishing the huts. In total, he said, 509 sq. miles of Mizo area that largely contained forests and about seven villages had been captured by Assam.

“This is part of the expansion policy of the newly elected Assam CM [Hemanta Biswa Sarma]. During the recent campaign for Assembly elections, he had promised to provide land to rehabilitate the Bangladeshi immigrants. And since he cannot accommodate them in his State he wants to expand further into our territory,” Mr. Vanlalvena said.

He also questioned the “dubious” role played by the Central Armed Police Forces in the conflict. “On the 26th of the last month about 200 Assam policemen came to the Mizoram territory passing through two Central armed police force posts. On the Assamese side there is BSF and on the Mizoram side, there is a CRPF camp. They are deployed for peacekeeping. If they did their duty, there would be no clash between Assam and Mizoram,” he added.

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Printable version | Aug 15, 2022 5:43:31 am |