Tensions along the contentious inter-state boundary of Assam-Mizoram intensified Tuesday following a fire incident, three weeks after violent skirmishes broke out at the Assam-Mizoram border, killing six Assam policemen.
While Mizoram claimed Assam Police opened fire on three Mizo citizens on the border between Hailakandi (Assam) and Kolasib (Mizoram), hurting one, Assam said miscreants on the other side fired first, prompting Assam Police to reply.
Three persons from Vairengte went to Aitlang Tlangpui (Kolasib) at 2 a.m. Tuesday to collect a “regular amount of meat” from a friend who lives close the border in Bilaipur, Hailakandi district, according to Kolasib district Deputy Commissioner H Lalthlangliana.
According to the official, the three heard a “loud whistle” from their companion as they approached the arranged meeting point. When they whistled back, they alleged that Assam Police officers stationed near the border fired at them in the dark, prompting the group to flee.
According to a Hailakandi district official, Assam Police were stationed atop a hill (on the Assam side) near the Mizoram border. “Around 2am, the officials sensed that some people were moving tactically in the area. Our officials asked them to identify themselves but they did not answer and suddenly they opened fire at us. In retaliation, Assam police also fired. After that, they disappeared…it was very dark.” Police searched the area the next morning but were unable to locate anyone.
Case registered in the Vairengte police station
While the group arrived in Vairengte uninjured, one person suffered an arm injury, according to Mizoram Police. Lalthlangliana, a member of Kolasib, has addressed a letter to his Hailakandi colleague, requesting that they “look into the matter and take immediate action.” In Mizoram’s Kolasib district, a case has been filed at the Vairengte police station.
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The tensed situation at the border
Both state police units are currently stationed at the location. According to an Assam official, the “two sides were conversing” and the border situation was “fully under control but tight.”
Both states are building roads in their respective regions, according to officials on both sides of the border. According to the Assam official, they were keeping a close eye on that specific hill (where the event occurred) since Mizoram was building a road from Vairengte nearby. Assam was also building a road from Bilaipur to the Dholaikhal outposts in Hailakandi district.
Hailakandi district accounts for 99.1 kilometres of the 165-kilometer Assam-Mizoram boundary, which is disputed at numerous spots. It is shared with Mizoram’s Mamit and Kolasib districts.
The news came three days after a minor blast purportedly caused by Mizoram miscreants destroyed a school in Assam’s Hailakandi district. Authorities in Mizoram have denied any participation in the tragedy.
Tension dated back from the demarcation of the states 1994
Tensions between the two states come from border demarcation on two separate dates, which began in 1994 but has flared up more regularly in the previous two years. The most severe confrontation occurred on July 26, when six Assam police officers were slain in a disputed territory near the Cachar (Assam) and Kolasib (Mizoram) districts.
Tensions de-escalated after the July 26 event, with the Centre intervening and deploying neutral forces. Representatives from both states met in Aizawl on August 5 to discuss the problem. Following the conference, the states released an unified statement pledging to keep the border peaceful.