GUWAHATI: The Assam-Mizoram boundary dispute has shifted focus to “Bangladeshis” with a political party in Mizoram accusing Assam of harbouring “illegal immigrants” for vote-bank politics and making their state suffer spillover impact.
Accusing Assam Police and Assam Forest Department of burning down the houses of Mizo farmers and destroying their crops, the youth wing of Zoram People’s Movement (ZPM) wondered for how long the Assam government would “harbour Bangladeshi refugees” as vote-banks.
“We condemn how the Assam government chooses to stifle the livelihoods of their fellow Indians over foreign refugees. We request it to cease sheltering Bangladeshi immigrants as they would, in all certainty, become thorns to the people of the Northeast at large,” the ZPM’s youth wing said.
On the October 9 incident of violence, the party alleged that Assam Police and Assam’s Forest Department had burned down the houses of Mizo farmers and destroyed their crops. It accused the Assam government of “initiating” an economic blockade against Mizoram.
As Mizoram-bound goods-laden vehicles remained stranded in Assam, Mizoram Chief Minister Zoramthanga said the state government would explore the possibilities of transporting essential items through Manipur and Tripura or even from Myanmar and Bangladesh.
The incident had occurred at Vairengte-Lailapur on the border of Cachar in Assam and Kolasib in Mizoram. At least eight people were injured and several houses and shops torched.
Official sources in Assam said no road blockade had been enforced on the highway leading up to Mizoram.
“There is no blockade. If the truckers want, they can go but nobody is going due to apprehension after the recent incident,” Cachar Superintendent of Police BL Meena told this newspaper.
Assam Commissioner and Secretary of Border Protection Department, Gyanendra Dev Tripathi, said efforts were being made to resume the movement of stranded trucks.
“The administrations of three districts of (Assam’s) Barak Valley are leaving no stone unturned to ensure the smooth movement of stranded trucks,” Tripathi said.
Assam’s Special Director General of Police (Border), Mukesh Agarwal, said the situation was under control. He assured of adequate protection to the people living close to the border and rehabilitation of the affected.