Assam is at the centre of a fresh inter-State border row in the northeastern region .
The Mizoram government has sought the revision of the boundary with Assam, based on the Bengal Eastern Frontier Regulation (BEFR) of 1873 and the Inner Line of the Lushai Hills Notification of 1993.
This followed an alleged bid by the Assam police on February 19 to pitch a camp at Umlawi in West Khasi Hills of Meghalaya, bordering Assam’s Kamrup district, and a Nagaland group’s reported attempt to grab land in eastern Assam’s Jorhat district on February 12.
The BEFR allows Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur, Mizoram and Nagaland not to let non-resident Indians in without an inner-line permit for a temporary stay. Mizoram used to be the Lushai Hills district of Assam before being made a Union Territory in 1972 and a State in 1987.
“We sent a letter to the Union Home Secretary on December 15 last, asking for a revision of the boundary with Assam. We are hopeful of a response from the Centre soon,” Mizoram Home Minister Lalchhamliana said.
Mizoram shares a 123-km border with southern Assam and has been claiming a 509-square mile stretch “occupied” by the neighbouring State. Both States have been disputing an extensive stretch of this boundary. The last stand-off at Zophai in March 2018 left several people injured.
On Tuesday, Meghalaya Chief Minister Conrad K. Sangma said he discussed the problem at Umlawi with his Assam counterpart Sarbananda Sonowal . “The situation is under control now. We have decided to meet after our Budget sessions for easing tension,” he said.
The Budget session of the 60-member Meghalaya Assembly ends on March 26.
A fortnight ago, a board put up by the Ao Students’ Conference of Nagaland in the New Sonowal area, 14 km inside the Assam-Nagaland border, triggered fears of encroachment. “The board was removed and my counterpart in Nagaland’s Mokokchung district regretted the matter,” Jorhat Deputy Commissioner Roshni Aparanji Korati said.