In a new escalation between the two Northeastern states, the Assam government said on Tuesday that people from Mizoram were constructing a road inside a reserve forest within its borders in the Hailakandi district.
Assam alleges Mizoram of constructing road
The road was being built near the remote Haticherra village inside the reserve forest over the last few days, according to Hailakandi superintendent of police Gaurav Upadhyay.
“We first got the information from the Forest Department about the road being built on our side. Subsequently, we contacted the Mizoram counterparts, who then stopped the construction. There was no activity in the last two days.”
Upadhyay told PTI, “However, we got information that three JCBs were seen today at the location. So, Hailakandi DC and I will visit the spot on Wednesday with officials concerned and do a spot verification. Only then we will be able to tell the details.”
On October 29, tensions rose between Assam and Mizoram along the inter-state border in Hailakandi district after a “low-intensity blast” near the Assam Police’s Baicherra forward outpost and the arrest of a Mizoram Police personnel for his claimed involvement.
On July 26, a simmering border issue between the two Northeastern states exploded into a brutal confrontation, killing at least six Assam police personnel and one civilian and injuring more than 50 others.
Miscreants from Mizoram opened fire on workers constructing a road in Hailakandi district on August 17, prompting a retaliation from the state’s police force.
On August 20, a group of Mizoram labourers tried to construct a bridge at Kachurthal in the Ramnathpur police station area. When the Assam Police opposed the construction, around 40-50 security personnel from Mizoram arrived at the bridge site.
A detachment of roughly 200 Assam Police personnel and commandos led by Upadhyay arrived in Kachurthal two days later to assert Assam’s stance and to request Mizoram forces to withdraw from the Assam side of the bridge. The problem was resolved without any violence.
Cachar, Karimganj, and Hailakandi in Assam share a 164.6-kilometer border with Mizoram’s three districts of Aizawl, Kolasib, and Mamit.
A notification issued in 1875 distinguishing Lushai Hills from the plains of Cachar, and another in 1933 demarcating a boundary between Lushai Hills and Manipur, sparked the long-running controversy.
Mizoram insists that the inter-state boundary be drawn in accordance with the 1875 notification, which is a corollary to the Bengal Eastern Frontier Regulation (BEFR) Act of 1873.
Mizoram leaders, on the other hand, have been protesting against the 1933 demarcation notice, stating that the Mizo society was not consulted, whilst Assam wants the notice to be implemented.