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Assam-Mizoram border clash: bandh affects normal life in Barak Valley

Security personnel keep up vigil in front of the Mizoram House in Guwahati on Tuesday, 27 July 2021.   | Photo Credit: RITU RAJ KONWAR

Normal life in the three districts of Assam's Barak Valley was completely affected on Wednesday, July 28m 2021 due to a 12-hour bandh called to protest the killing of seven people, including five policemen, in a recent inter-state border clash with Mizoram.

Seven people have been killed and 50 others, including an SP, injured in a bloody clash along the Mizoram-Assam inter-state border on Monday.

All business establishments remained closed and few vehicles plied on the roads of Mizoram-bordering Cachar, Hailakandi and Karimganj districts even as emergency services were exempted from the purview of the Barak Valley bandh that began at 5 am.

 

Train services, however, have remained unaffected so far, a spokesperson of the Northeast Frontier (NF) Railway said.

The bandh, called by Barak Democratic Front (BDF) and supported by political outfits including opposition AIUDF and social organisations, was "total" and there was no report of any untoward incident from any district, another official said.

BDF Chief Convenor Pradip Dutta Ray said that people have spontaneously extended their support to the bandh.

"We were compelled to call this bandh as our police personnel have died and there must be a permanent solution to the dispute as we do not want any more bloodshed," he said.

‘Economic blockade’

Several social organisations in Hailakandi district blocked the roads leading to Mizoram and launched an indefinite "economic blockade" to prevent the movement of goods-carrying trucks to the neighbouring state.

Various organisations also held demonstrations in different parts of the valley protesting the killing of seven people and demanding a permanent solution to the dispute.

The Chief Secretaries and Director Generals of Police of Assam and Mizoram will hold talks over the issue in New Delhi during the day under the aegis of the Union Home Ministry.

A seven-member Congress delegation, led by newly appointed state unit chief Bhupen Bora, was scheduled to visit the disputed boundary to review the prevailing situation.

Hailakandi Superintendent of Police Ramandeep Kaur has been posted as the new Cachar police chief following serious injuries to incumbent Vaibhav Chandrakant Nimbalkar in the bloody inter-state border clash.

Mr. Kaur will be replaced by Chirang police chief Gaurav Upadhaya, a notification issued by the Home and Political Department said.

Mr. Upadhaya will be replaced by Pranjit Bora, currently serving as the Guwahati Deputy Commissioner of Police (Traffic).

Mr. Nimbalkar was airlifted to Mumbai for better treatment, while three others were shifted to Gauhati Medical College and Hospital on Tuesday.

The death toll in the clash increased to seven on the previous day as critically injured Shyamprasad Dusat of the 6th Assam Police Battalion succumbed to his abdominal bullet injury at Silchar Medical College and Hospital on Tuesday night.

‘Few instances of conflicts in the past’

Tension along the inter-state border in Cachar and Hailakandi districts has been escalating since October last year, with frequent incidents of burning of houses and encroachment of land.

The issue flared up again in February this year, and two houses vacated by people since then in Gutguti area near Gallacherra border outpost were burnt down by unknown persons in June.

A grenade was hurled at an Assam government team when it visited the disputed border region on July 10, but no one was injured in the incident.

Before 2020, though the border dispute existed, the situation remained relatively calm, barring a few instances in 1994 and 2007, but the flare-ups were brought under control with the Centre's intervention.

After the 2007 incident, Mizoram declared that it does not accept the present boundary with Assam and that the inner line of the Inner Line Reserved Forest as described in the 1875 notification under the Bengal Eastern Frontier Regulation (BEFR) of 1873 should be the basis for delineating the border and not the 1933 boundary demarcation which Assam wants to be enforced.

Mizoram, then known as the Lushai Hills, was carved out of Greater Assam as a Union territory in 1972 before being made a full-fledged state in 1987.

The two states share a 164.6-km border between Assam's Cachar, Hailakandi and Karimganj districts and Mizoram's Kolasib, Mamit and Aizawl districts.


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Printable version | Sep 28, 2021 1:29:48 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/assam-mizoram-border-clash-bandh-affects-normal-life-in-barak-valley/article35577184.ece

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