Tension escalates along Assam-Mizoram border; cops hurt in ‘firing’

Himanta speaks to Zoramthanga, calls for status quo by both states

GUWAHATI, July 26: Fresh tension escalated along Assam-Mizoram border with reports of police personnel, including senior officials from Assam, injured in alleged “firing by forces” at Lailapur near the inter-state boundary in Cachar district on Monday.

Sources said the incident took place in an area between Lailapur (Cachar) and Vairengte (Kolasib), about 46 km from Silchar town, on Monday morning when the forces, allegedly from Mizoram, opened fire, injuring Assam police personnel and civilians.

The injured were taken to the Dholai primary health centre and later shifted to Silchar Medical College and Hospital (SMCH).

The convoy of Cachar deputy commissioner, Keerthi Jalli, who visited the site of the incident, was also attacked. Reportedly, residents of both the states engaged in a clash after the attack on government officials took place, leaving some persons injured.

Stones were pelted by people from both sides of the border and vehicles were damaged, sources said.

It may be mentioned that the incident took place within 24 hours of the Union home minister’s meeting with the chief ministers of the Northeast in Shillong, where resolution of border issues between the states figured in the list of the issues discussed.

The incident has prompted Assam chief minister Himanta Biswa Sarma to call up Mizoram chief minister Zoramthanga, “reiterating that Assam will maintain status quo and peace between the borders.”

In a post on Twitter, Sarma also expressed “his willingness to visit Aizawl and discuss the issues if needed.”

Speaking to the media, the Assam chief minister informed that he had spoken to his Mizoram counterpart underlining the need for both states “to show restraint without encroaching on each other’s lands.”

Sarma informed that the fresh escalation started over a dispute over a police post which Mizoram claimed to be an old one and therefore needed repair. “However, our police claimed that the post was a newly built one,” he said, while claiming that any law and order violation within Assam would be investigated and dealt with sternly.

Earlier in the day, both chief ministers were actively engaging on Twitter, urging the Centre to intervene.

Referring to a video posted by Zoramthanga, the Assam chief minister urged his counterpart to investigate why “civilians from Mizoram were holding sticks and trying to incite violence.”

“We urge civilians to not take up law and order in their own hands and permit peaceful dialogue to take place between governments,” Sarma posted on Twitter, while drawing the attention of the Centre to the incident.

On the other hand, Mizoram chief minister Zoramthanga stated that “two companies of Assam Police with civilians lathi-charged and fired teargas at civilians at Vairengte autorickshaw stand inside Mizoram today,”

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