Clashes erupted at the Assam-Mizoram border between the people of the two states on Saturday night, injuring people and leaving more than 20 temporary bamboo huts incinerated. Seven people have reportedly been injured.
According to officials, the flare-up took place as villagers of Lailapur in Cachar district of Assam entered into a brawl with residents of Vairengte in Kolasib district of neighbouring Mizoram. As per reports, the border clashes were a result of the razing down of a makeshift hut used by local volunteers who manned the inter-state border near the Saihaipui ‘V’ village, about 3 km from Vairengte.
The deputy commissioner H Lalthlangliana of Kolasib district claimed that the clashes took place after a large number of Vairengte inhabitants gathered when some people from Assam, armed with sticks and other weapons, hurled stones at a group near the auto-rickshaw stand on the prairie of the border village on Saturday evening. The Vairengte mob in retaliation burnt 20 temporary bamboo huts and stalls built along the national highway by residents from Lailapur. Several houses have also been reportedly torched near Lailapur.
The volunteers in Mizoram were keeping the tab on the movement of people in the wake of COVID-19 pandemic, some accounts say. Mizoram’s MNF MLA Lalrintluanga Sailo, however, claimed that his state was only protecting its territory from infiltration by Bangladeshi immigrants living in border areas. According to him, over eighty per cent living in the areas along the Assam-Mizoram border are illegal immigrants. At least 11 MLAs of Mizoram’s ruling party are camping at Vairengte.
The Mizoram cabinet on Sunday “expressed regret at the unilateral and provocative acts of disturbing peace and harmony in the border areas at three locations”. Placing the blame squarely on the Karimganj and Cachar district administration, Mizoram’s home department said, “The government of Mizoram appeals to all persons not to attempt to use the present crisis to further their personal or collective motives.”
“We got report last night that some temporary huts were burnt. Police were immediately rushed to the spot and the situation brought under control. Security has been beefed up in the area and we are engaged in talks with counterparts on the Mizoram side,” Cachar SP, Bhanwar Lal Meena, said. Assam CM Sarbanand Sonowal also spoke with the Union Home Ministry over the matter.
On Sunday, he dialled his Mizo counterpart Zoramthanga and said on Twitter, “We agreed to maintain the law & order situation of the area so that peace returns immediately. We resolve to work together for maintaining brotherhood between both the states.” Zoramthanga welcomed the initiative of Sonowal.
There was a dispute at the Assam-Mizoram border recently as well when Assamese officials reportedly demolished a farm hut erected on disputed land. That had led to a standoff near Thinghlun village in Mizoram’s Mamit district on the border with Karimganj.