Guwahati: A week after a supposed breakthrough, a festering Mizoram-Assam boundary row worsened today, intensifying blockades and protests along the border between the two northeastern states.
Mizoram Home Minister Lalchamliana today said there will be no withdrawal the state’s forces from its border with Assam till normalcy returns. Protestors in Assam have, meanwhile, blocked National Highway 306, Mizoram’s lifeline for essential commodities.
Sources in the Mizoram government have said they are in talks to work out an alternative route to bring in essentials through Manipur.
Mr Lalchamliana said his government accepted the demarcation notified in 1875 under the Bengal Eastern Frontier Regulation of 1873 as the actual boundary of Mizoram and Assam. “It was a historical inter-state boundary decided long back and that had been accepted by the forefathers of Mizos,” the Minister told reporters.
Last week, Mizoram had promised it will pull back its armed police from the border area at Lailapur in Assam, but the latter’s officials say that promise is yet to be honoured.
On Thursday, the Union Home Secretary held a video conference with the chief secretaries of both states to defuse the situation, official sources said.
Amid this, over 100 protesters have refused to withdraw the Lailapur blockade, leaving more than 250 vehicles stranded on either side of the border on NH 306. Mizoram ferries food grains, transport fuel, and other goods and machines through this route that connects Vairengte in the state’s Kolasib district to southern Assam.
Gyanendra Pratap Singh, Assam Additional Director General of Police for Law and Order, is camped in southern Assam since Wednesday, trying to normalise the situation.
Festering since October 9, the situation along the 164.6-km Assam-Mizoram border took an ugly turn on October 17 when some 20 shops and houses were burnt down and over 50 people injured in clashes.
In another incident, Mizoram security personnel on Tuesday stopped Assam Forest Department officials from visiting some area on the border claiming it to be their territory.
Both Union Home Minister Amit Shah and Satyendra Kumar Garg, Joint Secretary (North East) in the Union Home Ministry, have spoken to the political leadership and other senior officials multiple times to defuse the crisis.