Assam Mizoram Border Dispute: The problem in Assam-Mizoram is going on since last year. Sporadic incidents have occurred in Assam’s Cachar and Hailakandi districts, which share a border with Kolasib district in Mizoram. Last year volunteers of the Mizo student body had allegedly started setting up checkpoints on the Assam side of the border, alleging that most of the residents were illegal Bangladeshi immigrants, allegedly the risk of transmission during the COVID-19 pandemic can increase. These checkpoints also stopped the forest officials of the Assam government from carrying out their regular movement.
The border dispute between Assam and Mizoram is about one and a half century old. While there have been many demonstrations arising out of inter-state disputes between different states of the Northeast. The dispute between Assam and Mizoram has rarely resulted in violence. Yet it rose to unprecedented levels on Monday as at least five Assam policemen were killed and over 50 injured in firing along the inter-state border.
They come days after Union Home Minister Amit Shah’s meeting with chief ministers of northeastern states in Shillong, where it was reiterated that inter-state border issues would be resolved amicably. While Mizoram has accused the Assam Police of entering its territory, videos of armed young Mizo men in war uniforms and helmets were reported from the Mizoram side, in which no one was injured.
Tension has increased in the states of Assam and Mizoram after clashes between the police forces of two states on the border on Monday. A 12-hour bandh was called in Barak Valley on Wednesday. In which three districts are included Cachar, Hailakandi and Karimganj. In mid-October last year, people from both Lailapur in Assam and Wairengte in Mizoram were involved in violent clashes. The immediate intervention of the Union Home Ministry and subsequent talks between the two states eased the tension for some time.
The ceasefire was broken when a Bengali medium school on the border was torched. Back-to-back attacks on trucks coming from Cachar district resulted in the complete closure of National Highway 306, which is the lifeline for Mizoram and had dire consequences for the state dependent on the highway for all essential commodities. Central forces were also deployed in some areas. Whereas the Assam government has seen these conflicts as a law and order problem. The view of some residents of Mizoram is that it is a border dispute and that the descendants of Lushai tribes are being deprived of their rightful home due to increasing encroachment. He is accused of being a Bangladeshi immigrant.
Since when is the dispute?
Let us tell that the origin of the border dispute can be from the demarcation of Lushai hills from the Cachar plains by the British in 1875. The fact remains that even after this the Lushai hills and surrounding areas were administered by the Cachar district administration till the end of the colonial rule. In fact the original state of Assam consisted of Lushai Hills. Mizoram became a union territory in 1972 and then a state in 1987. The Mizo people claim that they follow the demarcation of 1875, which was implemented by the British to completely isolate the movements of the Lushai tribes. It is noteworthy that the Assam Levy (now the Assam Rifles) was established in 1835 with the sole purpose of deterring the Lushai tribes’ attacks on tea plantations in the plains. However, heavy geographical upheaval in the last 150 years has transformed the region and the original demarcation is no longer a challenge.
Mizoram shares the Barak Valley of Assam and both borders with Bangladesh. The border between the two states, which today runs for 165 km, dates back to the time when Mizoram was a district of Assam and was known as Lushai Hills. The boundary demarcations in 1875 and 1933, in particular the second, are at the center of controversy. The demarcation of 1875, notified on 20 August that year, was derived from the Bengal Eastern Frontier Regulation (BEFR) Act, 1873.
It separated the Lushai Hills from the Cachar plains in the Barak Valley of Assam. This was done in consultation with the Mizo chiefs and it became the basis for the Inner Line Reserve Forest demarcation in the gazette two years later. The demarcation of 1933 marks a boundary between Lushai Hills and Manipur, starting from the tri-junction of Lushai Hills, Cachar District and Manipur. The Mizos do not accept this demarcation on the ground that this time their chiefs were not consulted.
Violence in Assam-Mizoram border dispute
Five Assam policemen were killed as a dispute along the state’s border with Mizoram flared up again over allegations of encroachment. The roots of this issue are very deep and it is due to the demarcation of borders going back to the colonial period and the creation of states in the North-East of India after independence. How has this matter been going on for decades?
As the British rulers of India expanded their footprint in the North-East at the turn of the 19th century, they used Assam as a springboard to connect the parts of the territory claimed by the tribes in the region. This means that by the time of independence, Assam covered a wide area of the Northeast. Eventually the four existing states of Nagaland, Meghalaya, Mizoram and Arunachal Pradesh were carved out of Assam. However, the demarcation of the borders was not solely to the satisfaction of the new states thus created.
Controversy is one of perceptions and politics. Whereas the boundaries of these states were defined constitutionally as each was carved out of Assam. Nagaland, Mizoram and Meghalaya are deprived of the lands that historically belonged to them. At stake is access to resources and rights to territories that no state wants to give up.
While there has been renewed violence along with trouble on the Assam-Mizoram border. Clashes have also been witnessed along Assam’s borders with Nagaland, Meghalaya and Arunachal Pradesh. The report said that the boundary commissions set up to resolve these various disputes have had little success as these states have been reluctant to accept their recommendations, which are not binding.
Unedited news source link — https://www.abplive.com/news/india/assam-mizoram-border-dispute-a-very-old-and-complex-problem-know-the-full-story-ann-1946405