A chief secretary-level meeting between Mizoram and Assam, which are at loggerheads over the border issue, will be held on Monday via video conference to defuse the prevailing tension.
The meeting will be chaired by a secretary of the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA), said Mizoram home minister Lalchamliana on Sunday.
Speaking to reporters after a Cabinet meeting on Sunday, Lalchamliana said the State Cabinet expressed sadness over the violent incident at Vairengte and the recent border standoff in two other areas.
The cabinet urged the Assam government to make efforts to defuse tension and restore peace and tranquility in the inter-state border.
The Mizoram home minister alleged that troubles were created recently by Assam at three border areas – Thinghlun in Mamit district, Saihapui ‘V’ and Vairengte, both in Kolasib district.
“We have approached the Centre over the border dispute. Accordingly, Union home secretary Ajay Bhalla will hold a virtual meeting with chief secretaries of the two neighbouring states on Monday to defuse the prevailing border standoff,” he said.
According to the home minister, a boundary dispute erupted on Saturday evening near Vairengte village on the border with Assam resulting in a bitter fight between residents of Vairengte and Assam’s Lailapur village.
At least 7 people from Mizoram were injured in the clashes that took place on the northern outskirts of Vairengte village near Lailapur in Assam’s Cachar district, he said.
He said the state government sent reinforcement to the border areas to defuse tension and stabilize the situation.
“Some ministers will also visit the border areas on Monday to take stock of the situation,” he said.
Asserting that a 509 sq miles stretch of the inner-line reserve forest notified in 1875 was the actual Mizoram’s boundary with Assam, the home minister said, “We are not trying to encroach Assam’s territory but faithfully protect our territory at all cost.”
The State Cabinet last year declared the 509 sq miles stretch of the inner-line reserve forest area notified under the Bengal Eastern Frontier Regulation of 1873 as the state’s actual boundary with Assam.
According to Lalchamliana, Mizoram is likely to face a shortage of essential commodities especially cooking gas and fuel due to indefinite blockade staged by residents of Lailapur and adjoining areas on the National Highway -306, which is the lifeline of the state.
He urged the people, especially traders not to hoard commodities and hike their prices.
The home minister further asked civil bodies not to act on their own and break law and order.
Chief minister Zoramthanga also urged people to maintain peace and not bypass any administrative proceedings.
State chief secretary Lalnunmawia Chuaungo, who accompanied the home minister, said that the state government has consented to the formation of a boundary commission and had officially intimated the matter to the Centre.
He said the core committee, constituted by the state government in connection with the state boundary, is studying and assessing old maps and documents related to the boundary.