GUWAHATI: The Assam government on Thursday alleged Mizoram was occupying 1.5 km of Assam land near the inter-state border.
“We encourage Mizoram to develop its agriculture but they should do it on their own soil. Even today, their people are occupying 1.5 km of our land near the state border. We’ve been requesting them to go back,” ANI quoted Assam’s Forest Minister Parimal Suklabaidya as saying.
The statement comes amidst a bitter border row between the two states. It had flared up last month when at least eight people from both sides were injured and several houses and roadside shops torched.
The Centre, which has already held talks with both states at various levels towards restoring normalcy, is likely to deploy Central forces to the disputed belt. The two states share a 164 km boundary.
Assam’s Chief Secretary Jishnu Baruah, who on Tuesday visited the border, told journalists about the possible deployment of the Central forces. Both states deployed their troops to the disputed areas in the wake of the violence.
Assam also is embroiled in border disputes with Meghalaya, Nagaland, and Arunachal Pradesh. Personnel of the Central Reserve Police Force have remained deployed to the disputed stretches on the Assam-Nagaland border as a “neutral” force for years.
At a meeting with the leaders of some Joint Village Councils and a youth organisation of Mizoram on Wednesday, the state’s Chief Minister Zoramthanga had assured that all efforts were being made to restore normalcy.
Amidst the dispute, a 40-year-old man from Assam had died under mysterious circumstances in Mizoram on Monday. The Mizoram government claimed the deceased was a drug peddler who died at a hospital at Vairengte in the state. However, the Assam government claimed he was abducted by the miscreants from the border. It sought a probe by the NIA (National Investigation Agency) into the incident.
Mizoram was a part of Assam until it became a Union Territory in 1972 and a state in 1987. The border is not clearly demarcated. Hence, the villagers living on the border knowingly or unknowingly tend to build structures and use the land for farming on each other’s side. Periodic inspection of such encroachment often leads to tension.