The Chief Ministers of Assam and Mizoram have sought to ease tension along their troubled inter-State border after a telephonic discussion with Union Home Minister Amit Shah.
An exchange of fire between the police forces of both the States on July 26 left six Assam policemen and a civilian dead and 60 others, including Cachar district’s Superintendent of Police Nimbalkar Vaibhav Chandrakant injured. Assam claimed the firing was one-sided and unprovoked while Mizoram said they had retaliated to the aggression by the Assam police.
Mizoram Chief Minister Zoramthanga on Sunday took to Twitter to say he had a telephonic discussion with Mr. Shah and his Assam counterpart Himanta Biswa Sarma. “…we agreed to resolve the Mizoram-Assam border issue amicably through meaningful dialogue,” he tweeted.
He also asked the people of Mizoram to “avoid posting sensitive messages and make judicious use of their social media platform” to prevent any possible escalation of the situation. He later deleted the tweet but retweeted a post by Dr. Sarma.
“Our main focus is on keeping the spirit of North-East alive. What happened along the Assam-Mizoram border is unacceptable to the people of both states,” the Assam Chief Minister said, adding that Mr. Zoramthanga promised to call him post-quarantine.
“Border disputes can only be resolved through discussion,” Dr. Sarma added.
Later, he told reporters in Guwahati that the Assam government would approach the Supreme Court in 15 days for an amicable solution to the boundary row for both the States to follow.
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. The border conflict is decades old but things started getting violent from October 2020.
Since the July 26 incident , locals in Assam have blocked the National Highway 306 besides uprooting a stretch of the lone railway track connecting Mizoram. Transportation of people and goods to and from Mizoram has thus been affected.
Withdrawal of FIR likely
The Mizoram government is likely to withdraw the FIR filed against Dr Sarma, the State’s Chief Secretary Lalnunmawia Chuaungo told reporters in Aizawl on Sunday.
“Our Chief Minister has suggested that I should look into the inclusion of the Assam Chief Minister’s name in the FIR,” he said, pointing out that naming Dr. Sarma in the FIR did not have Mr Zoramthanga’s approval.
The Chief Secretary did not specify if the cases against six Assam officials and 200 other unidentified police personnel would be withdrawn.
The Mizoram police had booked four senior Assam police officers, including an Inspector-General of Police, the Deputy Commissioner and Divisional Forest Officer of Cachar district on various charges including attempt to murder and assault. They were asked to appear before the investigation officer at Vairengte police station in Mizoram’s Kolasib district.
Likewise, the Assam police summoned Mizoram's Rajya Sabha member K. Vanlalvena and six others officials, including the Kolasib Deputy Commissioner and Superintendent of Police for questioning at Cachar’s Dholai police station on Sunday.