Simmering tension prevails on the Mizoram–Assam border after a violent clash took place between civil populations of both the states near Mizoram’s Vairengte village and Assam’s Lailapur leading to several people injured on Saturday, a senior police officer said on Sunday.
The situation, however, is now under control as the Mizoram government has deployed personnel of Indian Reserve Battalion police in the incident torn areas, the police officer said.
Vairengte falls under Mizoram’s Kolasib district and is the northern fringe of the state through which the National Highway 306 (formerly 54) passes linking Assam.
The nearest village in Assam is Lailapur, which falls under Cachar district.
Kolasib district deputy commissioner H Lalthlangliana said that a large number of residents of Vairengte assembled on Saturday when some civilians from Assam reportedly armed with sticks and dao and pelted stones at civilians near auto-rickshaw stand (stoppage) on the outskirts of the border village on Saturday evening.
The irate mob from Vairengte retaliated and set on fire about 20 temporary bamboo huts and stalls built along the National Highway on the disputed lands by residents of Lailapur despite a prohibitory order in place before the clash turned violent, he said.
He said that in the violent clash that lasted for several hours, many people including four from Mizoram were injured.
One of the injured people, who suffered a cut in his neck, was admitted at Kolasib district hospital and was critical while 3 people are being treated at a Public Health Centre (PHC) in Vairengte.
According to the deputy commissioner, section 144 of CrPC had been already imposed in the area before the clash prohibiting assembly of five or more people in a bid to avoid any untoward incident.
“Despite the prohibitory order and policemen trying their best, the situation turned violent and became out of control as the mob assembled in large numbers,” he said, adding that the situation is now under control.
He said that the Vairengte incident could be the fallout of the demolition of a makeshift hut used by local volunteers while guarding the inter-state border to prevent movement in view of the spread of Covid-19 near Saihaipui “V” village about 3 km from Vairengte on Saturday afternoon.
Rubbishing reports on a section of media that one person from Assam was stabbed to death, Lalthlangliana said no one died in the clash and one person from Assam was admitted at Silchar Medical College and Hospital.
He said that he has communicated his Cachar counterpart Keerthi Jalli over the standoff and asked him to take measures to ensure that the National Highway, which has been blocked by local people, is cleared at the earliest.
Lalthangliana also said that Kolasib district administration is giving shelter to truck drivers, mostly from Assam, at Kolasib town and Kawnpui village and volunteers of Young Mizo Association (YMA) provided them food.
Sources said that the Assam government has also deployed police at the border areas.
However, Cachar district administration authorities could not be contacted on the border standoff.
Meanwhile, Mizoram government deputy chief whip and ruling Mizo National Front (MNF) MLA Lalrintluanga Sailo, who is camping at Vairengte, said that Mizoram is not hostile to Assam or its entire people but is protecting its territory from infiltration by illegal Bangladeshi immigrants, who are living at the border areas.
He alleged that more than 80 per cent of people living along the Assam-Mizoram border areas are illegal Bangladeshi immigrants.
Sailo further alleged that the present border dispute is a ploy set up by some vested politicians living in the border areas to take political advantage in view of the upcoming assembly polls in Assam next year.
At least 11 ruling MLAs, including deputy speaker Lalrinawma, are currently camping at Vairengte.
The two neighbouring states are often at loggerheads due to boundary disputes.
Recently, a border standoff took place near Thinghlun village in Mamit district on the state border with Assam’s Karimganj when Assam officials demolished a farm hut erected on the disputed land.
Mizoram shares 164.6km inter-state border with Assam.
Several dialogues held since 1995 to resolve the border dispute have yielded little result.