Northeast India’s frontier state Mizoram has gotten into border conflicts with Assam and Tripura over the past 48 hours in which, at least 50 people have been injured.
Police and paramilitary forces have been deployed and prohibitory orders have been promulgated in the border regions of all the three states to maintain peace along the borders.
Three districts of northern Mizoram — Mamit, Kolasib and Aizwal — shares 123-km-long borders with three districts of southern Assam’s Barak Valley – Karimganj, Hailakandi, and Cachar — while, in the west, Mamit district shares a 104-km-long border with North Tripura.
While, border disputes with Assam had been as old as Mizoram’s inception of about half a century ago, in Tripura, fresh resentments have formed at scenic village Phuldngsai skirting Tripura’s highest peak Betlingchip that is divided between the two states.
This time, the resentments grew at Lailapur village in Dholai subdivision, about 43km from Cachar headquarter Silchar, through which National Highway 306 runs into Vairengte of Kolasib district, about 45 km from Mizoram capital Aizwal.
Southern Assam range Deputy Inspector General of Police Dilip Kumar Dey said that the clash began over a COVID-19 screening centre set up with the initiative of Mizoram NGOs 1.5km within Assam border at Lailapur last Friday.
“The tesiting center was set up unilaterally and under the pressure of the Mizoram NGOs. Assam police had opposed to the setting of the COVID centre for Mizoram bound truckers and other people without the permission of the Assam authority” Dey told media.
“Some youths on Saturday (from Mizoram) came to Lailapur and attacked the truck drivers, villagers and burnt more than 15 small shops-cum-houses,” the DIG said.
He said, “Cachar district police authority has approached their Mizoram counterpart to dispel the ongoing tension and prevent the clashes between the people living on both sides of the borders.”
In this commotion, more than 200 Mizoram bound goods laden vehicles, mostly trucks, are stranded in Cachar district and their drivers and owners, now refuse to enter Mizoram territory without the law and order situation coming back to normalcy, the DIG said.
Mizoram, on the other hand, alleged that people have encroached into their land.
On its west front, Mizoram Chief Secretary Lalnunmawia Chuaungo said in Aizwal, keeping in mind the public resentment, he has instructed to take precautionary measures along its borders with Tripura.
According to Mizoram’s Mamit district officials, prohibitory orders under section 144 Cr Pc were clamped in Phuldungsei, Zampui and Zomuantlang villages on Friday because of the proposed construction of a temple in the area by an indigenous organisation of Tripura.
Tripura Home Department’s Additional Secretary Anindya Kumar Bhattacharjee in his October 17 strongly worded letter to Mizoram Home Department’s Deputy Secretary David H. Lalthangliana said that the Mamit District Magistrate erroneously included some Tripura territory too when he promulgated the prohibitory orders in the Mizoram bordering areas.
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 and has Bangladesh to its west and south and Myanmar to its eastern borders.