Tension at Assam-Mizoram border after clash

Several people from both States injured in violence, situation under control in the area, say officials

Tension prevailed on the Assam-Mizoram border after a violent clash took place between the people of the two States, injuring several, officials said on Sunday.

The situation is now under control in the area, which is on the border between the Kolasib district of Mizoram and Cachar district of Assam, they said.

A meeting, chaired by Union Home Secretary Ajay Kumar Bhalla, between the two States will be held on Monday to take stock of the situation, Mizoram Home Minister Lalchamliana said. The Chief Secretaries of the two States will be present in the meeting, he said.

PMO informed

Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal said he has apprised the Prime Minister’s Office and Union Home Ministry of the prevailing situation in the area. Mr. Sonowal also telephoned Mizoram Chief Minister Zoramthanga and spoke to him on the border incident, stressing on the need to take productive measures and joint efforts to address the border issues.

Mr. Zoramthanga assured Mr. Sonowal of efforts to maintain peace at the inter-State border and cooperation, the Assam government said in a statement.

The two States have deployed security personnel, including those of the Indian Reserve Battalion, in the violence-hit areas near the Vairengte village in Mizoram and Assam’s Lailapur, officials said.

Vairengte in Kolasib district is on the northern fringe of Mizoram through which the National Highway-306 (formerly 54) passes, linking the State to Assam. The nearest village in Assam is Lailapur, which is in Cachar district.

Kolasib Deputy Commissioner H. Lalthlangliana said a large number of Vairengte residents assembled when some people from Assam, armed with sticks and dao, pelted stones at a group near the auto-rickshaw stand on the outskirts of the border village on Saturday evening.

The mob from Vairengte retaliated and set on fire about 20 temporary bamboo huts and stalls built along the National Highway by residents of Lailapur despite a prohibitory order being in place, he said.

One of the injured persons, who suffered a cut in his neck, was admitted to the Kolasib district hospital and his condition was critical. Three people were being treated at a Public Health Centre in Vairengte, he said.

The incident could be the fallout of the demolition of a makeshift hut used by local volunteers who guard the inter-State border near the Saihaipui ‘V’ village, about 3 km from Vairengte, he said.

The volunteers are guarding the border to check the movement of the people in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Defusing tension

Mr. Lalthlangliana said no one died in the clash and one person from Assam was admitted at Silchar Medical College and Hospital. He said that he has spoken to Cachar Deputy Commissioner Keerthi Jalli and asked her to take measures to ensure that the National Highway, which has been blocked by the local people, is cleared at the earliest.

The Assam government also said that the situation is under control and senior officials along with police are in the area to defuse the tension.

State Forest Minister Parimal Shuklabaidya, on the direction of Mr. Sonowal, visited Lailapur during the day and interacted with the people.

The incident was the handiwork of miscreants to create disturbance in the community, a statement issued by the Assam government quoted him as saying.

Mr. Zoramthanga also held a Cabinet meeting during the day. “I sincerely request everyone to maintain peace and to kindly not bypass any administrative proceedings,” he tweeted.

Speaking to reporters after the meeting, Home Minister Lalchamliana said the Mizoram government has urged Assam to make efforts to defuse the tension and restore peace and tranquillity in the area.

Recent troubles

He alleged that recently troubles were created by Assam at three border points — Thinghlun in Mamit district, and Saihapui ‘V’ and Vairengte, both in Kolasib. “We have approached the Centre over the border dispute. Accordingly, Union Home Secretary Ajay Bhalla will hold a virtual meeting with Chief Secretaries of the two States on Monday,” he said.

At least seven people from Mizoram were injured in the clash on Saturday night, he said.

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