Guwahati: The situation along the Assam-Mizoram border remained on edge on Friday as residents on the Assam side continued to block the national highway connecting Mizoram for the third straight day.
The movement of vehicles remained paralysed on NH 306, were residents of Lailapur in Assam’s Cachar district have set up a blockade since Wednesday. The residents are demanding an end to alleged encroachment into Assam’s territory by Mizoram state security personnel.
The Mizoram side, on the other hand, claims the area comes under its jurisdiction. It’s security personnel have started construction activity in the region, and Assam has responded by setting up fresh border posts.
The border row between Assam and Mizoram began in 1987, when the latter became a separate state.
Assam’s forest minister Parimal Suklabaidya on Friday visited areas along the border and assured residents that the state government was taking steps to resolve the dispute. The minister went to a newly set up border outpost (BoP) in Singua, and said two more such BoPs would soon be set up in Tulartal and Baghewala.
“Residents on the Assam side of the border are agitated and scared. A school along the border was recently destroyed by miscreants from Mizoram, and their troops have entered our territory. People are blocking the highway till Mizoram troops withdraw,” Suklabaidya said.
“The Mizoram side earlier assured us that they will withdraw their personnel from Assam territory, but that hasn’t happened. Instead they have started construction on the occupied areas. We are planning to turn the Lailapur check post into a full-fledged police station,” he added.
On Thursday, Mizoram home minister Lalchamliana maintained that the state will not withdraw its security personnel from the border areas till normalcy returns. He told reporters that Mizoram accepts the boundary notified under the Bengal Eastern Frontier Regulation (BEFR), 1873, as the actual boundary between both states, and therefore the security personnel were on Mizoram territory.
“People on either side of the border should live in harmony as the present crisis is not a communal issue but a border standoff which entirely rests on the governments of the two neighbouring states,” Lalchamliana was quoted by PTI as saying.
Earlier this month, people on both sides of the border were injured in clashes after some miscreants, allegedly from Mizoram, burnt huts in Lailapur, leading to locals on the Assam side blocking the highway in protest. On October 21, senior officials from both states met in Silchar to resolve the issue, and the vehicular movement started briefly before blockades resurfaced this week.