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Interstate boundary issue, not dispute between two parties: Sarma

Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma on way to inquire about the well-being of police officials and others injured in the border clash, at Silchar Medical College and Hospital on July 27, 2021. Photo:

Silchar/Aizawl, July 27 (MNN) Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said on Tuesday that interstate boundary issue between his state and Mizoram was not politicial one, asserting that Assam would not give an inch of land while not encroaching on that of the neighbouring state.

“It is not a political issue, only a long-standing border dispute. Basically, the dispute is between two states and not two political parties. Assam does not want the land; there is a reserve forest in the area. Can it be used for making roads? Assam only wants to protect the forest. It is not doing any settlement in forest. Even a neutral entity can protect the forest. Even the central government can do it. I said at the Shillong meeting of Chief Ministers that we are protecting the forest and doing a service to the mankind,” Sarma told a press conference in Silchar.

The Assam Chief Minister claimed that fresh construction was going on in the area near Vairengte town from where violence was reported on Monday.

Answering a query, he said that he did not believe in any economic blockade or revenge.

“We can’t given up our land. We have directed for the security for Mizoram people in Assam. It is an inner-line forest. It is not India-China boundary. There are no Bangladeshis involved. You can’t use bombs and weapons,” Sarma remarked.

He asserted that Assam did not hold anything against Mizoram. “We will not encroach an inch of land of Mizoram but won’t give up our land also. If tomorrow the Indian government says we wil handle the forest, we are fine by it.”

Sarma said that since the firing happended in Assam territory, the state would investigate how civilians got to use weapons in the violence.

“Let the conditions improve. The Assam IGP has been there along with a strong deployment of police. We have photographs of civilians and police personnel who were present on the spot. How can civilians get to use weapons in violence?” he said.

A day after the killing of five Assam Police personnel in violence on the Assam-Mizoram border, Sarma on Tuesday visited the Silchar SP office in the morning and paid floral tributes on the bodies of deceased police personnel.

He also visited the Silchar Medical College and Hospital to ask after the health of and meet those injured in Monday’s violence. He directed officials to medivac those needing specialised treatment.

On Monday, Sarma had posted a video clip and posted: “Watch this video of how personnel of Mizoram Police are brandishing LMGs and boasting about using these against Assam Police force. Sad and horrific!”

Meanwhile, Mizoram Home Minister Lalchamliana said that the state wanted that the inter-state border issue with Assam be resolved in an atmosphere of peace and understanding.

“Accordingly, we call upon Assam to create a congenial environment for peaceful resolution of the dispute,” he said.

The Minister claimed that around 200 armed Assam Police personnel led by an IGP and accompanied by Cachar’s Deputy Commissioner, SP and DFO came to Vairengte auto­rickshaw stand around 11.30 am on Monday and forcibly crossed the duty post manned by CRPF personnel stationed there and overran a duty post manned by one section of Mizoram Police.

He alleged that the Assam Police also damaged several vehicles moving along the National Highway between Vairengte and Lailapur.

The Minister said that on learning of the incident, residents of Vairengte town proceeded to the spot but these unarmed civilians were lathi-charged and tear-gassed by Assam Police, injuring several civilians.

“Even as Kolasib Superintendent of Polcie and an Executive Magistrate went to the spot to try to resolve the issue, the Assam side were adamant and unwilling to discuss the issue. The confrontation continued and a volley of tear gas canisters and grenades were launched at Mizoram Police, followed by firing from Assam side around 4.50 pm. Mizoram Police fired back inspite of the fact that Kolasib District SP was still inside the CRPF duty camp and negotiating with Assam Police authorities,” he said.

He said that the incident was quite unfortunate and was triggered by Assam Police aggression at the duty camps of CRPF and Mizoram Police.

Following Union Home Minister Amit Shah’s intervention, who spoke to both the Chief Ministers, Assam Police withdrew and handed back the duty post to CRPF.

“The Mizoram government strongly condemns the unjustified act of Assam government in this intrusion and aggression into Mizoram territory. The Mizoram government deeply regrets the needless injuries on both sides.”

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