Violence along the Assam-Mizoram border, which has left several people injured and properties gutted, prompted the chief ministers of both states to seek the aid of the Centre to dial down tensions in the area, on Sunday.
Violence clashes broke out in the border villages of Vairengte (Kolasib district) in Mizoram and Lailapur (Cacchar district) of Assam on Saturday (October 17) over the setting up of a COVID testing centre by Mizoram in an area claimed by Assam, to test Mizoram-bound truckers. No permission was reportedly sought from the Assam government for the same.
According to the Mizoram government, the clashes have happened in three locations – Thinghlun, Saihapui V and Vairengte.
Reports quoting locals say men from Vairengte attacked truck drivers and villagers in Assam’s Lailapur and burnt more than 15 shops and houses, triggering a retaliation from the locals.
“In both Cachar and Karimganj, Mizoram police came inside Assam territory. In Lailapur, they tried to build a check-gate 1.5 km inside Assam. We have objected to it. In Karimganj, they are 2.5 km inside our territory. Our forces are deployed there as well,” NDTV quoted Southern Assam range Deputy Inspector General of Police Dilip Kumar Dey as saying.
Kolasib Deputy Commissioner H Lalthangliana told Indian Express that while Assam and Mizoram as per an old agreement had been maintaining a status quo in no-man’s land between the two states, people from Lailapur broke the same and tried building temporary huts. People from Mizoram set fire to those huts, he said.
According to a statement released by the Assam government, Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal apprised the Prime Minister’s Office of the situation at the border and in a telephone call with his Mizoram counterpart Zoramthanga urged him to settle the issue amicably.
The Mizoram government which held a cabinet meet on Sunday to discuss the matter has blamed the Assam government of “transgressing” into its territory.
Based on its complaint, Union Home Secretary Ajay Kumar Bhalla would hold a meeting through video conferencing with the chief secretaries of both the states on Monday, the Mizoram government said in a statement.
While situation at the border is currently under control, both the states have beefed up security near the Vairengte and Lailapur.
The clashes have affected the transportation of essential commodities into Mizoram with several trucks seen stranded at the state border.