Assam-Mizoram border
Assam-Mizoram border. File Image credit - Northeast Now

The Mizoram government on Wednesday instructed the administrations of the two districts, bordering Assam, to continue with construction activities along the inter-state border.

The decision has been taken 2 days after a Joint Action Committee (JAC) urged the Centre and Mizoram government to revoke the order directing border districts to maintain the status quo and stop construction activities along the state border with Assam.

Mizoram home minister Lalchamliana informed the meeting of the State Boundary Committee that the deputy commissioners of Kolasib and Mamit districts, which share a border with Assam, have been instructed not to halt construction activities.

Lalchamliana asked the DCs of the border districts to continue with the construction of development projects in border areas on Wednesday as Assam has not stopped its construction activities along the inter-state border.

The home minister also suggested that the two neighbouring states should hold a bilateral political dialogue to resolve the long-pending border dispute.

On November 5, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) sent advisories to Mizoram and Assam to maintain the status quo on the disputed areas along the inter-state border.

Following the MHA advisory, the Mizoram home department on November 8 instructed the deputy commissioners of Kolasib and Mamit to maintain the status quo and refrain from undertaking construction activities on the disputed areas along the Mizoram-Assam border.

Eventually, the two district administrations had partly halted construction activities on November 11.

Mizoram has been constructing roads and bridges in order to link policy duty posts and camps in the border areas after the July standoff, which led to the death of seven people.

On November 15, the JAC on Inner Line Reserve Forest Demand served an ultimatum to the Mizoram government to withdraw the order within 72 hours and threatened to take stringent measures if the government fails to do so.

The Aizawl-based JAC also urged the Centre to revoke its advisory alleging it as “one-sided and biased” because Assam has allegedly continued its construction activities along the inter-state border despite the advisory.

Meanwhile, the meeting of Mizoram State Boundary Committee, chaired by deputy chief minister Tawnluia on Wednesday, unanimously agreed that both the Mizoram and Assam governments should hold a political dialogue in order to resolve the decades-old boundary dispute.

The meeting resolved and reiterated that the inner line reserved forest notified under the Bengal Eastern Frontier Regulation (1873) in 1875 should be the basis for demarcation between Mizoram and Assam boundaries in order to resolve the vexed issue.

The meeting further discussed at length the draft approach paper to be tabled before the Manohar Parrikar Institute for Defense Studies and Analyses (MP-IDSA) team when it visits the state this month-end.

State chief secretary Renu Sharma, who participated in the meeting, said massive efforts would be made to resolve the border dispute keeping in mind what is best for Mizoram.

She lauded the state government, political parties and various organisations, for uniting in one accord over the border issue.

Mizoram’s three districts – Aizawl, Kolasib and Mamit – share a 164.6 km long boundary with Assam’s Cachar, Hailakandi and Karimganj district.

The border dispute between the two Northeastern states is a long pending issue, which stemmed from two demarcations during the colonial period.

Tension escalated on July 26 when police forces of the two neighbouring states engaged in a ‘Merapani War (1985)’ like gunbattle on the disputed area near Vairengte on the National Highway-306.

The incident led to the death of six policemen and a civilian from Assam while several people from both states were injured.

Subsequently, both states held talks on August 5 and agreed to defuse tension and amicably resolve the long-standing border dispute through dialogue.


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