Mizoram, Assam chiefs pledge to end violence along disputed border

Mizoram’s Chief Minister, Lalduhoma, disclosed on Tuesday a mutual agreement with his Assam counterpart, Himanta Biswa Sarma, aimed at quelling further violence along the contentious inter-state border. Lalduhoma also announced Assam’s Border Area Development Minister, Atul Bora, would visit Mizoram next month.

Speaking at a press conference in Aizawl, the Chief Minister recounted his recent meeting with Sarma in Guwahati, where both leaders delved into the border issue. They pledged to uphold peace along the border and seek resolution to the longstanding dispute.

“We have agreed to prevent any recurrence of violence along the border. Our joint efforts are directed towards resolving this dispute,” Lalduhoma affirmed.

The historical roots of the border dispute trace back to colonial demarcations. Mizoram asserts ownership of a 509 square miles section within the inner line reserved forest, designated in 1875 under the Bengal Eastern Frontier Regulation (BEFR) 1873. Conversely, Assam recognises the border outlined in a 1933 map by the Survey of India as its constitutional boundary. This has led to significant overlaps, with portions of the inner line reserved forest now under Assam’s jurisdiction, while areas delineated in the 1933 demarcation fall within Mizoram’s territory. Ground demarcation of boundaries between the two states remains unresolved.

The border discord between Mizoram and Assam reached a climax in July 2021 when police forces from both states engaged in gunfire at the inter-state boundary, resulting in the deaths of six policemen and one civilian from Assam. Over 60 individuals sustained injuries during the violent confrontation near Mizoram’s Vairengte village. The disputed border spans across three Mizoram districts – Aizawl, Kolasib, and Mamit – intersecting with Assam’s Cachar, Karimganj, and Hailakandi districts, stretching over 164.6 kilometers.

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