Assam alleges Mizoram constructing road in its territory

Hailakandi, Nov 24 : The Assam government alleged on Tuesday that people from Mizoram were constructing a road inside a reserve forest within its territory in Hailakandi district, in a fresh escalation of tensions between the two Northeastern states.

Hailakandi Superintendent of Police Gaurav Upadhyay said the road was being constructed near the remote Haticherra village inside the reserve forest over the last few days.

“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.

“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,” Upadhyay told PTI.

Tension brewed between Assam and Mizoram along the inter-state border in Hailakandi district on October 29 after a “low-intensity blast” near the Baicherra forward outpost of the Assam Police and the arrest of a Mizoram Police personnel for his alleged involvement in it.

At least six Assam Police personnel and one civilian were killed and more than 50 people injured as the festering border dispute between the two Northeastern states erupted into a bloody conflict on July 26.

On August 17 again, miscreants from Mizoram opened fire on workers engaged in the construction of a road in Hailakandi district that was retaliated by the police force of the state.

On August 20, a few workers from Mizoram were trying to build a bridge at Kachurthal in Ramnathpur police station area. Around 40-50 security personnel from Mizoram reached the bridge site when Assam Police had objected to the construction.

Two days later, in order to assert the position of Assam and to ask Mizoram forces to retreat from the Assam side of the bridge, a party of around 200 Assam Police personnel and commandos under Upadhyay’s leadership had reached Kachurthal and the issue was settled without any violent face-off.

Assam’s Barak Valley districts of Cachar, Karimganj and Hailakandi share a 164.6 km long border with Mizoram’s three districts of Aizawl, Kolasib and Mamit.

The long-standing dispute has its origin in a notification issued in 1875 that differentiated Lushai Hills from the plains of Cachar, and another of 1933 that demarcates a boundary between Lushai Hills and Manipur.

Mizoram insists the inter-state boundary should be demarcated on the basis of the 1875 notification, a corollary to the Bengal Eastern Frontier Regulation (BEFR) Act, 1873.

Mizoram leaders have, however, been arguing against the demarcation notified of 1933, claiming that the Mizo society was not consulted, while Assam wants that notification to be enforced.

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