Students in Mizoram staged a sit-in-demonstration on Thursday under the aegis of the Mizo Zirlai Pawl (MZP) protesting the brutality and inhumane act of Assam police against Mizo students and journalists during a border standoff at Zophai along the Mizoram- Assam border fortnight ago.
The sit-in-protest held in front of the state’s largest auditorium Vanapa hall was also organized to demonstrate the student’s firm determination on constructing a rest shed and widespread apathy to the outcome of chief secretary level meeting of Assam and Mizoram in New Delhi on Tuesday.
Speaking on the occasion, MZP president L Ramdinliana Renthlei said the student body was firm on constructing the rest house despite the status quo mandate, which he said, would not be possible unless the Assam government demolish its several construction on the disputed area. He strongly slammed Assam police for brutally assaulting the unarmed students and journalists during a face-off with MZP activists, when they attempted to construct a wooden rest shed on a land, which they claimed to be Mizoram territory on March 8 and 10.
Renthlei alleged that at least 61 people including eight journalists were injured when Assam police resorted to lathicharge and firing during the standoff. He said that the student body could only accept the boundary demarcation between the colonial British and the Lushai territory based on Bengal Eastern Frontier Regulation, 1875. He said that the Indian government would never want to resolve the border dispute and demarcate boundary based on the interest of the Mizoram people.
Recalling the MNF insurgency, Renthlei also warned that the Mizo people would not hesitate to go underground again if the Centre and government of Mizoram and Assam show lack of interest to resolve the boundary dispute at the earliest. He also demanded the Assam government to return a 509 sq.m Inner Line Reserve Forest Area to Mizoram.
During the sit-in-demonstration, the protesting students carried several placards that read- “We demand status quo without Assam constructions,” “Inner line reserve area is our land,” “Hello China,” and “India, are you going to surrender our land to Bangladeshi foreigners,” among others.
On Wednesday, the MZP demanded the Assam government to demolish all its structures such as schools, police outposts, refugee camps and temples erected along the boundary on or before April 15 if status quo is to be maintained. It also demanded the state government to pass a resolution to ensure that the inner line reserve forest area is returned to Mizoram.
Meanwhile, opposition MNF on Thursday demanded the Assam government to deport all illegal Bangladeshi migrants from the Mizoram-Assam border to avoid further border dispute. Official sources said that a three-member high-level team of the union home ministry will visit the disputed areas along the Assam-Mizoram border on March 27.