The inter-state boundary dispute between Assam-Mizoram has been going on for many years and both the neighbouring states allege encroachment on their sides. But, a recent Assam Forest Department report has alleged that the government and people of Mizoram have been encroaching upon the land in Assam along the 164.6 km interstate boundary since 1980.
In July this year, a land conflict between the two northeastern states is the 1,318 sq km Inner-Line Reserve Forest along the boundary. The conflict claimed the lives of six Assam police personnel.
The report was prepared by the department’s Southern Assam Circle headquartered in Silchar.
The report clearly stated that the boundary was notified on March 9, 1933, which defines “Inner-Line” as the district boundary of the Lushai Hills. A district of undivided Assam, Lushai Hills became Mizoram, first as a Union Territory in 1972 and a state in 1987.
“Major portion of the boundary between Assam and Mizoram runs along with the natural features like river, streams, and watersheds. Only two portions of the boundary, from Chattachura Peak to Longai and from Rukni River to Dholai River, do not follow definite natural features,” the report stated.
The report said, “During the time of demarcation in 1959-60, one of the camps of the Assam Survey party engaged in the demarcation work was set on fire by local Mizo people and as a result, valuable government properties like tents, survey equipment, official records, maps were gutted.”
“The 1959-60 incident happened in the Cachar Division of the Assam Forest Department, where the 150 hectares were encroached upon by about 60 Mizo households in Frenchnagar and Dhalakhal areas in 1980, and up to 4 km of land was occupied from 1993-2001 along National Highway 54,” the report said.
The report further alleged, “The length of the inter-state boundary in Karimganj district is approximately 14 kms, including 4.5 kms under Singla Reserve Forest, 3 kms under Badshah Tilla Reserve Forest and 6 kms under Longai Reserve Forest.”
“Incidents of encroachment in both Singla and Longai were recorded in November 1985. Portions of Kalakshetra and Shantipur areas inside Singla were occupied with the help of armed forces of Mizoram” and they “gradually encroached upon a total of 75 hectares,” the report said.
The report further mentioned, “But while the encroachers left these areas “with no known reasons” after senior Adam officials visited these areas in February 2017. The “government of Mizoram” has continued to control areas under Longai Reserve Forest by forcing Assam Forest personnel to retreat about 2 km inside the boundary.”
In the Hailakandi Division of the Assam Forest Department, an encroachment of about 1,000 hectares of forest land by Mizoram at two different locations- 425 hectares at Kachutal and 575 hectares at Dholcherra- have been recorded. Both areas fall within the Inner-Line Reserve Forest.