The Mizoram government has denied involvement of any “non-state actors” in the recent border clash with Assam.
The Mizoram Government has also denounced allegation that the border dispute stemmed from drug trafficking and cattle trade.
State home minister Lalchamliana said that the recent violent clash came out of “unavoidable” countermeasure to protect the territorial integrity and ancestral land of the Mizos, which was threatened several times over decades by aggression and encroachment from Assam.
“Drug trafficking and cattle trade have nothing to do with the boundary dispute nor was non-state actors involved in the recent clash. How can a responsible government be hand in glove with or be influenced by non-state actors,” he said.
He said that there is no point of denying the fact that some civilians from Vairengte were present during the clash so were civilians from Assam, but the border town residents gathered to protect their ancestral land when outside forces tried to grab it.
Though certain student organisations used to clash with Assam police over border dispute, no organisation was involved this time, he said.
“Despite maximum restrain at first, our men were compelled to resort to countermeasure when neighbouring state forces crossed over our territory, overran our outpost and trying to set up camps and not only fired grenade and tear gas but first opened fire (bullets) towards our forces and the protesting civilians,” Lalchamliana said, adding it was solely a countermeasure in self dense and to protect civilians.
“It was very unfortunate that some people lost their lives and several sustained injuries in the clash.”
On drug trafficking, the home minister said Mizoram was much ahead of Assam in launching a crackdown on drug smuggling.
He said that both the state governments, civil society organisations and churches have been making massive efforts to curb drug smuggling from Assam and neighbouring countries for decades.
He said that a plethora of drugs, including heroin known as “Bhaga cap” are also smuggled from Assam and several drugs peddler from the neighbouring state had been arrested in the past.
The home minister also claimed that Mizoram hardly imports cow, one of the meat items of the state, from Assam as such supply came from the eastern part of the state.
Drug smuggling is a global problem, which can be curbed by joint efforts between states, he said.
Earlier on Friday, Mizoram largest civil society organisation Central Young Mizo Association (YMA) in a statement said that the allegation of drug trafficking and cattle trade leveled by Assam were not only “baseless” but an attempt to tarnish Mizoram’s image.
The organisation in collaboration with the government has tried its best to curb and combat drug menace in the state by forming certain anti-drug squads, which still active today, it said.
In fact, large portion of drug seized in the state came from Assam, it said.
The organisation also said that Mizoram did not face problem in beef supply because of prohibition of inter-state transportation of cow by Assam as cow produces from the eastern part of the state.
It further said that there has never been a discussion on settlement of Myanmar refugees in Assam as all the Myanmar national are currently taking shelter in Mizoram and the NGOs and community leaders look after them.
Meanwhile, state excise and narcotics commissioner Ngurchungnunga Sailo said that as many as 1,680 people have died due to drug abuse since 1984 till 30 July this year and the main killer drug, which claimed 1,116 lives, was spasmo proxybon or parvon spas.
All the proxyvon tablets seized in the state came from Assam, he said.
The government release said that at least 395 people from Assam had been arrested in drug-related cases in the past 10 years.
Excise and narcotics department spokesperson Peter Zohmingthanga said that most arrested Assam residents had acted as “middle men” for smuggling heroin from Myanmar.
Though drug seizures are frequent in the state due to alertness of excise officials, state police and Assam Rifles troopers, the quantity of the seized drugs at a time were usually very small, he said.
He added that there is no presence of drug mafia in the state although there are active drug peddlers.
The government data said that at least 1,981 people were arrested in drug-related cases during 2018 and June, 2021 and majority of them were Mizoram residents, followed by Myanmarese and Assamese.
Earlier, the Assam government has alleged that “non-state” actors and drug lords, who have been at the receiving end due to a crackdown on drug launched by the government, were fomenting tension, which resulted in the border dispute.
The neighbouring state government also linked the border dispute to ban on inter-state transportation of cow and refusal of settlement to the Myanmar refugees in Assam.