The current violence and pressure on the Assam-Mizoram border dates back to 1972, when Mizoram was carved out of Assam as a Union Territory. Though Mizoram became a State in 1987, the improperly demarcated boundary line has led to frequent skirmishes alongside the interstate border.
- History of the Problem
- About recent conflict
- National Highway (NH) 306, Mizoram’s lifeline, connects Lailapur in Cachar district of Assam with Vairengte in Kolasib district of Mizoram throughout the imprecise boundary.
- Tensions between the two states resumed in early October when the Assam government launched an “eviction drive” along a disputed part of the border, between Karimganj district and Mizoram’s Mamit district.
- The Mizoram government responded by deploying forces in what Assam claims is its territory.
- On October 9, a farm hut and a betel nut plantation belonging to 2 Mizoram residents had been set on fire in a space bordering Karimganj and Mamit district.
- Some individuals from Lailapur allegedly pelted stones at Mizoram police personnel the next day.
- On October 17, “miscreants” set fire to about 20 homes and outlets alongside the border and at least eight individuals had been injured in clashes.
- Assam-based organisations blocked NH306 and different roads which was lifted on October 22 after negotiations between the 2 States and intervention by the Ministry of Home Affairs.
- But Mizoram police’s refusal to withdraw from the disputed areas led to a different blockade from October 28.
Ethnic angle to the dispute:
- Most residents in areas along Assam’s side of the border are Bengalis, many of them Muslims, whom the Mizos often view with suspicion, alleging they are undocumented migrants.
- On November 1, a Bengali Muslim man from Lailapur, Intazul Laskar, was apprehended by a Mizo vigilante group that claimed he was selling drugs.
- He was handed over to Mizoram’s excise and narcotics department.
- He died in a hospital in Mizoram’s Kolasib district on November 2 and the post-mortem report attributed Laskar’s death to “coma as a result of health injury caused by blunt object”.
- According to the Assam police, Laskar had no criminal antecedents.
- Laskar’s death heightened emotions around the territorial dispute.
On November 7, a school located along the states’ border was damaged in an explosion in Assam’s Cachar district. The pressure eased when personnel of the Border Security Force and Sashastra Seema Bal started patrolling three flashpoints on the border. The blockade was lifted on November 9.
Movement of trucks carrying essential commodities and petroleum products started moving on the National Highway 306 from Lailapur in Assam to Mizoram’s Kolasib. The blockade along the border was “partially lifted” following the meeting of chief secretaries of both states. The border district administration of the two states intervened and in a meeting of representatives of truckers’ association it was agreed to start movement of essentials.
History of the Problem:
- The conflict is due to an unresolved border issue.
- A 164.6-km inter-state border separates Assam and Mizoram, with the three Assam districts of Cachar, Hailakandi and Karimganj sharing a border with Kolasib, Mamit and Aizawl districts of Mizoram.
- Formerly known as Lushai Hills, Mizoram is located on the southern fringes of Northeast India.
- The state shares borders with three northeastern states of Tripura, Assam and Manipur, and a 722-km border with the neighbouring countries of Bangladesh and Myanmar.
- The North-Eastern Areas (Reorganisation) Act, 1971, provided for the establishment of the states of Manipur and Tripura and the formation of Meghalaya.
- It also provided for the formation of the Union Territories of Mizoram and Arunachal Pradesh by the reorganisation of the existing state of Assam.
- Mizoram was earlier a part of undivided Assam.
- The boundary issue between Assam and Mizoram arose since the formation of Mizoram, first as a UT in January 1972 when it was separated from Assam.
- The signing of the Mizoram Peace Accord in June 1986, between the Government of India and the Mizo National Front (MNF), ended the 20-year-old insurgency by the Mizos, and led Mizoram to acquire statehood in 1987.
- The boundary issues that remained suppressed earlier became a border dispute after the separation.
- The absence of correct and up-to-date land records of villages and towns has injured the interest of numerous land owners, the bulk of whom are led to unavoidable land disputes.
- There have been a number of rounds of talks between the 2 States since 1995 to resolve the border concern in useless.
- Villagers in Mizoram and Assam, not fully aware of the boundary demarcation, would often cross over to either side for various purposes.
- Both sides have attributed border skirmishes to perceptual differences over an imaginary boundary line.
- What is the Assam-Mizoram border dispute all about?
Approach to the answer:
- Write briefly about recent clashes
- Write the history of boundary dispute
- Conclude with what was done to solve the recent trigger