A few days after the gunfight between Assam and Mizoram police forces that left six Assam cops dead, the situation has escalated further on Friday after Mizoram police filed an FIR against Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma and six other top police officials from the state on charges of attempt to murder and assault.
According to the reports, the Mizoram government has filed a case against Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma and six other officers under Section 41A of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) on July 26 at the Vairengte Police Station in Kolasib district of Mizoram, an area that borders Cachar district of Assam.
The FIR was registered on charges of allegedly entering Mizoram’s Vairengte district and violating Covid-19 protocols under the Mizoram Containment and Prevention of Covid-19 Act 2020 along with the Indian Penal Code.
The Assam Chief Minister and the officials have also been booked for an attempt to murder, concealing design to commit the offence, grievous hurt, assault and using criminal force against public servants.
Besides Sarma, the Mizoram police have also named Assam Inspector General Anurag Aggarwal, Deputy Inspector General Devojyoti Mukherjee, Cachar Deputy Commissioner Keerthi Jalli, Cachar Superintendent of Police (former) Vaibhav Chandrakant Nimbalkar, Forest Officer Sunnydeo Choudhury, the officer in charge of Dholai police station Sahab Uddin, and 200 unidentified Assam Police personnel.
The Assam police officers have been summoned for questioning at Vairengte Police Station on August 1.
The notices to Assam Police came a day after a similar notice was issued to Mizoram officials and another to the Rajya Sabha MP from Mizoram, K Vanlalvena, in New Delhi in connection with the Monday clash between the two-state police forces.
What the FIR against Himanta Biswa Sarma and others says
In the complaint, Mizoram police have accused a team of “200 fully armed” Assam Police personnel led by the IGP of intimidating Mizoram’s team of 20 officers and attempting to “forcefully occupy” their police camp calling it an encroachment of reserve forest.
“The Mizoram Police were outnumbered and their actions to defend their camp were in vain. Upon learning of this incident, SP Kolasib and party immediately rushed to the area and tried their level best to have an amicable dialogue with Assam Police, but they were not ready to listen to sane argument and instead forcefully informed SP Kolasib that the area falls within Assam territory and they intended to construct a camp as per the instruction of Chief Minister, Assam himself,” the FIR claims.
It further states that the Assam Police team had arrived with tents and other material in 20 vehicles with the aim of constructing a camp by forcibly occupying the Mizoram BOP.
Clashes at Mizoram-Assam border:
On Monday (July 26) evening, a violent clash took place between the locals of Lailapur village (Cachar district) in Assam and Vairengte village (Kolasib district) in Mizoram. The conflict at the inter-state border erupted amidst an ongoing dispute over alleged illegal encroachment in each other’s land.
The conflict culminated in stone pelting, vandalism, arson, and gunfire. During the clash, around six Assam police personnel lost their lives while about 65 people, including civilians, were injured. Around 40 of those injured were admitted to the Silchar Medical College and Hospital for further medical treatment.
The long-standing territorial dispute between the two states began when Mizoram used to be a district of Assam. In the colonial era, Mizoram was known as Lushai Hills and was demarcated from the Cachar plains in accordance with an 1875 notification. Subsequently, another notification was released by the British government in 1933 that drew a boundary between the Lushai Hills and Manipur.
Mizoram wants the boundary demarcation to be followed as per the 1875 notification. In their defence, they claim that the Mizo society was not consulted prior to the 1933 notification. However, the Assam government follows the 1993 demarcation, which has become a bone of contention between the two states.