Assam, Mizoram agree to keep state forces out of disputed region

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With tensions between Assam and Mizoram continuing over the disputed area, the two sides held a crucial ministerial-level meeting on Thursday and decided to maintain peace along the inter-state border. 

Welcoming the deployment of neutral central forces, both states agreed that they would not send their respective forces and officials to the troubled border areas.

A joint statement, issued after the meeting at the Aijal Club in Aizawl, said that Assam and Mizoram would not send their respective forest officials and police force for patrolling, domination, enforcement, or for fresh deployment to any of the areas where confrontation and conflict had taken place between the two states on July 26.

“This would include all such areas along the Assam-Mizoram border in the district of Karimganj, Hailakandi and Cachar in Assam, and Mamit and Kolasib districts in Mizoram. Representatives of governments of Assam and Mizoram agree to take all necessary measures to promote, preserve, and maintain peace and harmony amongst the people living in Assam and Mizoram, particularly in the border areas,” the statement said.

The Mizoram delegation was led by Home Minister Lalchamliana and included Revenue Minister Lalruatkima and Home Secretary Vanlalngaihsaka, while the Assam side was led by Border Protection and Development and Agriculture Minister Atul Bora and included Urban Development Minister Ashok Singhal and state Commissioner-cum-Secretary, Border Protection and Development, G.D. Tripathi.

The joint statement said that both state governments also welcomed and agreed to take forward the initiatives taken by the Union Home Ministry and the two Chief Ministers to remove tensions prevailing around the inter-state borders and to find lasting solutions to the disputes through discussions.

The Mizoram government representatives conveyed condolences for the loss of lives on July 26 and convey best wishes for speedy recovery of those injured, it said.

Bora later told the media in Aizawl that the recent advisories and other circulars issued by his government would be withdrawn immediately.

Soon after the July 26 border clash and violence that left six Assam Police personnel dead and around 100 civilians and security personnel of the two neighbouring states injured, the Assam government has asked its citizens not to visit Mizoram and those staying in the neighbouring to maintain utmost caution.

Due to the “economic blockade” on National Highway 306 in Assam’s Cachar, supply of essential commodities, transport fuels and medicines to Mizoram has been acutely hit for the past 11 days. However, Assam government officials, after Thursday’s meeting, claimed that no such blockade is in force while the Mizoram officials indicated that they got an assurance that it would be lifted soonest.

The trouble between the states is due to conflicting interpretations of their territorial position. While Mizoram says the boundary line is the one laid down in the Bengal Eastern Frontier Regulation Act of 1875, Assam backs the 1933 demarcation.

(With IANS inputs)

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