Assam Mizoram Northeast

Assam-Mizoram border row flares up again: standoff along Kulichera over forest clearing activity

After at least three bombs went off in Cachar district of southern Assam bordering neighbouring state Mizoram allegedly by Mizo miscreants, Assam government on Monday said Mizo miscreants threatened the officials with “abusive language and weapons like axe and sickle.”

A suspected IED blast was carried out allegedly by Mizo miscreants on Saturday followed by two explosions on Sunday in the Kulicherra area of the district where tension is running high as people from Mizoram have reportedly entered up to 6.5 kilometres inside Assam land a few days ago, following which the Assam Police along with civil administration carried out an eviction drive.

“On Saturday morning, around 25mts ahead of the already deployed Kulicherra CRPF camp, Mizo citizens and Mizoram Police barricaded the entry towards Dholakhal in Kulicherra,” a media statement by Assam Government mentioned.

The statement mentioned that officials were “met by a mob of Mizoram miscreants who threatened the officials with abusive language and weapons like axe and sickle despite the area being well inside Assam.”

Currently, though Assam police managed to push the mob back across the Kulicherra stream, Mizoram police and civilians have “camped across the stream blocking pathway to Upper Phainom School (path leading to Kulicherra).”

Mizoram Home Minister Lalchamliana on the other hand said, the state will seek compensation from the Assam government for allegedly destroying crops of some Mizo families, a move that the Assam government says were part of “forest protection activity well within Assam’s border”.

“The incident which took place last week at Buarchep in the border area wherein crops of some Mizo farmers had been destroyed by police forces of Assam is an unfortunate act that needs to be strongly condemned the unfortunate incident. Adequate compensation must be given by the Government of Assam to the affected farmers and Mizoram will follow up these demands” Lalchamliana said.

He has however, said the clashes are motivated by local elected bodies and leaders in the districts and that it is most unfortunate.

Three districts of the southern Assam’s Barak Valley – Karimganj, Hailakandi and Cachar — shares 123-km-long borders with three districts of Mizoram – Mamit, Kolasib and Aizwal – of which, the National Highway 306 runs through Lailapur in Cachar to Vairengte in Kolasib through a border gate dividing the two states locked in border disputes since the inception of Mizoram in 1971.

In 1994, the police of the two states had almost gotten into an armed confrontation at Vairengte had the Union Home Ministry not intervened. There was a skirmish in 2006 when Karimganj in Assam had put a signboard on the disputed border and even in 2018, a journalist said Assam police hackled her while she was reporting a clash between police and Mizo students organisation after the latter had put a shed in the border.

Mizoram, erstwhile, Lushai Hills of the then Assam was separated as a Union territory in 1972 and the borders were demarcated based on the inner-line of the Inner Line Reserve Forest as notified in 1875 under the provisions of Eastern Bengal Frontier Regulation Act, 1873. Mizoram became a state in 1987.

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