Mizoram forms committee to resolve boundary dispute with Assam | Latest News India - Hindustan Times

Mizoram forms committee to resolve boundary dispute with Assam

Jan 12, 2024 07:32 PM IST

Resolving the decades old border differences with Assam was a promise made by the new government under chief minister Lalduhoma

Guwahati: The newly formed Zoram Peoples Movement (ZPM) government in Mizoram has constituted a committee to discuss the ongoing boundary dispute with Assam, officials disclosed on Friday.

Chief minister of Mizoram Lalduhoma. (PTI)
Chief minister of Mizoram Lalduhoma. (PTI)

Resolving the decades old border differences with Assam was one of the promises made by the new government, which assumed office in November last year under chief minister Lalduhoma.

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The committee will be headed by home minister Sapdanga and have environment, forest and climate change minister Lalthansanga as vice-chairman and home commissioner and secretary H Lalengmawia as member secretary.

A notification in this regard was issued on January 3 following an approval from the state cabinet on December 20. With this, the earlier committee, which was formed in 2021 by the previous Mizo National Front (MNF) government, stand dissolved.

Other members of the committee include advisor to the chief minister (political) Lalmuanpuia Punte, chief secretary Renu Sharma, Director General of Police (DGP) Anil Shukla, and Joseph K Lalfakzuala, an assistant professor at the state-run T Romana College.

The notification, which HT has seen, mentions that there will be one member each from Bharatiya Janata Party, Congress, Mizo National Front (MNF), Zoram People’s Movement (ZPM) and Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) in the committee.

Prominent civil society groups and NGOs of the state, NGO Coordination Committee, Central Young Mizo Association (CYMA), Mizo Zirlai Pawl (MZP), Mizoram Upa Pawl (MUP) or Mizoram Elders’ Association, Mizo Hmeichhe Insuihkhawm Pawl (MHIP) or Mizo Women Federation, Mizo Students’ Union (MSU) and Joint Action Committee on Inner Line Reserve Forest Demand will also have one representative each in the committee.

“The chairman (Sapdanga) may invite any person to the meeting as he consider necessary,” the notification issued by H Lalengmawia, commissioner and secretary (home), read.

According to officials in Aizawl, CM Lalduhoma and his Assam counterpart Himanta Biswa Sarma was expected to meet later this month during the plenary session of North Eastern Council (NEC) to be held in Shillong on January 19 where they were likely to discuss the border issue.

Mizoram shares a 164.6 km inter- state border with Assam. The border dispute between the two states is a long-standing issue. Mizoram was part of Assam until 1972, when it was carved out as a union territory.

Also Read: Mizoram, Assam agree to maintain cordial relations between police forces

The border dispute mainly came out of two colonial notifications- the inner line reserved forest notified under the Bengal Eastern Frontier Regulation (BEFR) in 1875 and the boundary indicated in Survey of India’s map in 1933.

While Mizoram claimed the 509 square miles stretch of the inner line reserved forest as its actual boundary, Assam said the 1933 boundary is its constitutional boundary.

The border has witnessed skirmishes especially since 1994 and it has become frequent since 2018. More than 60 people were injured when functionaries of Mizoram’s apex student body- Mizo Zirlai Pawl (MZP) clashed with Assam police at Zophai in the disputed area near Bairabi town in Kolasib district in March 2018.

The border dispute between the two neighbouring states turned ugly in July, 2021 when police forces of the two states exchanged fire on the disputed area near Vairengte village on the National Highway-306 leading to the death of six policemen and a civilian from Assam.

Around 60 people had also been injured in the violent clash, which was followed by a blockade organised by residents of Assam’s Laipur village on NH-306, the lifeline of Mizoram for nearly a month. Tension was defused later with the intervention of the Centre and when both states agreed to hold talks.

The two states have held several rounds of talks since then and agreed to maintain peace along the boundary and resolve the dispute through dialogue. There is no ground demarcation of boundaries between the two states.

(HT has reached out to Mizoram home minister Sapdanga for his comments on the development. Story will be updated once his views are available.)

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    Utpal is a Senior Assistant Editor based in Guwahati. He covers seven states of North-East India and heads the editorial team for the region. He was previously based in Kathmandu, Dehradun and Delhi with Hindustan Times.

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