Mizoram will withdraw a section of its forces from the disputed border with Assam and it will replace them with Border Security Forces (BSF), said state chief secretary Lalnunmawia Chuaungo.
Speaking to reporters at a news conference in Aizawl on Sunday, chief secretary Chuaungo said he had a meeting with his Assam counterpart under the leadership of Union home secretary Ajay Kumar Bhalla via video conference on Sunday.
During the meeting, it was unanimously decided that Mizoram would withdraw its forces from the disputed areas and the economic blockade on National Highway-306 in Assam will be lifted.
He said traffic movement from Assam is likely to resume from Monday.
Residents of Lailapur village and surrounding villages in Assam’s Cachar district launched an economic blockade since October 28 demanding the withdrawal of Mizoram forces from the areas which they claimed as Assam’s territory.
Mizoram refused to budge the claim that state forces are deployed within its territory.
Chuaungo said the main agenda of the chief secretary-level meeting on Sunday revolved around a short-term solution – withdrawal of forces and lifting of the blockade.
During the meeting, Bhalla asked Mizoram to withdraw its forces from the disputed areas and asked the Assam side to call off the blockade, he said.
“We will withdraw a part of our forces to deploy BSF personnel on the disputed areas. Assam will also lift the blockade. The traffic movement is likely to resume from Sunday evening or Monday as per the decision of the meeting,” he said.
He said the Centre was keen on resolving the inter-state dispute between Mizoram and Assam and has been constantly in touch with both the governments.
According to the Mizoram chief secretary, 3 companies of BSF arrived in the state on Saturday.
He said one company and 2 platoons of BSF will be deployed at Vairengte, 2 platoons at Saihapui ‘V’ village in Kolasib district and one company of the Central forces will be deployed at Thinghlun village in Mamit district.
However, a section of the state forces will remain deployed on the disputed areas to restore peace among the Mizo people, he said.
Chuaungo expressed regret over the demise of an Assam resident and the incidents of blasts at two schools on the inter-state border.
Citing that the inter-state border dispute is a long-standing issue which should be solved at the negotiating table and not by violence, the chief secretary urged the people of both the sides of the border to maintain peace.
The border dispute between Mizoram and Assam had flared up on October 9 after Karimganj district authority in Assam demolished a farm hut and destroyed plantations on the disputed land near Thinghlun village in west Mizoram’s Mamit district.
Tension escalated when residents of Vairengte set several temporary bamboo huts and stalls on fire during a violent clash on the night of October 17.
At least seven people from Mizoram and few others from Assam were injured in the clash.
Though several dialogues were held at the home secretary and the district administration level, normalcy is yet to be restored in the area with protesters in Assam’s Lailapur continue to observe economic blockade on National Highway-306 since October 28.
On Saturday, a 12-hour strike was observed in Assam’s Barak valley in protest against the mysterious death of an Assam resident in Mizoram recently.