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Centre to hold Assam, Mizoram meeting over border issue

Google Maps image shows the Assam-Mizoram border.  

Union Home Secretary Rajiv Gauba has convened a meeting of the chief secretaries of Mizoram and Assam on March 20 to resume dialogue on the boundary dispute between the two states in the wake of protests by students who turned violent recently.

This was conveyed by Home Minister Rajnath Singh to Mizoram Chief Minister Lal Thanhawla, who wrote to him seeking his intervention in the ongoing boundary dispute between Mizoram and Assam by resuming the talks and ensuring peace along the border. Mr. Thanhawla reminded Mr. Singh that the last time a dialogue process was initiated to resolve the dispute was in 1995-96.

Mr. Gauba will meet the chief secretaries of Mizoram and Assam on March 20 and carry forward the dialogues on boundary dispute, Satyendra Garg, joint secretary in home ministry said.

In his communication, the Home Minister also urged the Mizoram Chief Minister to ensure peace on the Mizoram side of the border and not to allow people to gather at Bairabi and stage protests there.

The situation along the Assam-Mizoram border turned violent after police resorted to lathicharge to control some protesting students. Among others, a journalist was also injured.

The administration of Assam’s Hailakandi district, bordering Mizoram, had on March 7 clamped prohibitory orders under Section 144 of the CrPc with immediate effect in certain areas apprehending encroachment attempts from the other side.

The prohibitory orders were imposed in Kachurthal and other areas under the Ramnathpur police station, bordering Kolasib district of Mizoram.

The Mizo Journalists’ Association, an umbrella body of journalists in Mizoram, staged a sit-in in state capital Aizawl on Tuesday to protest against the attack on five journalists, including a woman television reporter, who were covering the stand-off last week.

On Monday, the Mizo Zirlai Pawl (MZP), an influential students’ body, and other organisations held statewide protests demanding resignation of the Congress government for allegedly failing to protect Mizoram’s territory and students.

At least 49 people were injured in the alleged lathicharge and firing by Assam police on Mizo students who were constructing a wooden resting shed on land they claimed was donated by former Mizoram Chief Minister Ch. Chhunga’s wife Lalrothangi near Bairabi town in Kolasib district.

Officials in Assam said the Mizo students encroached upon the land that falls under Assam’s Ramnathpur police station, and that Google Maps clearly indicated the place was within Assam.

Adil Khan, Deputy Commissioner of Assam’s border district Hailakandi, said the “police used minimum force” while controlling the mob and advised restraint on the part of all stakeholders.

Assam has had boundary conflicts with neighbouring states in the northeast and with West Bengal. At least 40 people have died in clashes along the border with Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland, Meghalaya and Mizoram since the 1960s.

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Printable version | Jan 24, 2021 8:56:27 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/centre-to-hold-assam-mizoram-meet-over-border-issue/article23228805.ece

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