GUWAHATI: A Congress delegation was allegedly greeted with stones when it paid a visit to a place near the Assam-Mizoram border on Sunday.
The Congress delegation comprised, among others, All India Mahila Congress president Sushmita Dev and leader of the Opposition in Assam Assembly Debabrata Saikia.
The incident comes amidst a bitter border row between the two states.
The Congress alleged that the Mizoram Police had erected barricades near a bridge, two-three km inside Assam, and prevented the delegation from advancing further.
"The leader of the Opposition had intimated the Assam chief secretary in writing ahead of our visit. However, we could not visit an Assam area as the Mizoram Police had asked us to go back. The Mizos pelted marbles at the Assam people. Such is the law and order situation there," Dev alleged.
She lamented that the border trouble continued despite the Union Ministry of Home Affairs holding talks with both states.
"Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal is handsome but he has failed in delivering governance," the Mahila Congress chief alleged. Displaying a couple of playing marbles before journalists and addressing the CM, she said, "We will dispatch these to you by post. You keep them at your office".
Dev also criticised Sonowal’s virtual deputy and Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma stating that he gets active only when there is an election. Sarma is a master election strategist who is widely known for his political acumen.
Saikia alleged the "aggression" by Mizoram was well inside Assam.
"The border check post at Vairengte is far away from the place where they have put up barricades. We faced resistance not just from the Mizoram Police but also from Mizo villagers. They pelted stones at us by using catapults and shouted slogans. Mizoram has wiped of Assam’s existence there," Saikia told this newspaper.
He said the area, where the bridge is located, falls under an Assam panchayat in Cachar district.
"The locals are Mizos but it is Assam land. There is a forest village. The bridge in question was built by Assam government under a Central government scheme," he added.
The border dispute flared up last month when at least eight people from both sides were injured and several houses and roadside shops torched. A man from Assam had also died under mysterious circumstances in the custody of Mizoram authorities. The Mizoram government claimed he was a drug peddler who died at a hospital but the Assam government alleged he was abducted by the miscreants from the border.
As tension persists, both states have deployed Central forces to the disputed areas. Earlier, the miscreants, allegedly from Mizoram, had triggered blasts at two Assam schools near the border.
Union Home Secretary Ajay Kumar Bhalla on Sunday discussed issues related to the border dispute with Assam Chief Secretary Jishnu Baruah and the latter’s Mizoram counterpart Lalnunmawia Chuaungo.
Chuaungo said Mizoram was committed to the agreement arrived at the meeting. He hoped Assam too would be committed to getting the highways leading up to Mizoram reopened. They have remained blocked for the past 12 days in the wake of the violence.
The Mizoram chief secretary appealed to people in border areas of both states to work for peace and harmony.