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Six Assam Police personnel killed in boundary row with Mizoram

The Assam-Mizoram boundary trouble flared up on Monday as six personnel of the Assam Police were killed while 65 others

Assam Police

Sentinel Digital DeskBy : Sentinel Digital Desk

  |  27 July 2021 1:17 AM GMT

* Ensure peace: Amit Shah to CMs

SILCHAR/GUWAHATI/AIZAWL: The Assam-Mizoram boundary trouble flared up on Monday as six personnel of the Assam Police were killed while 65 others — including civilians and also Cachar SP (Superintendent of Police), Vaibhav Nimbalkar — suffered injuries in the firing by miscreants from across the inter-State boundary with Mizoram, at Lailapur in Assam's Cachar district, which borders Mizoram's Kolasib area. The injured Assam Police personnel are undergoing treatment at the Silchar Medical College & Hospital.

Union Home Minister Amit Shah has spoken to the Chief Ministers of both the States. He has asked them to ensure peace at the site. Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma will be proceeding to the disturbed area on Wednesday, informed sources.

CM Sarma tweeted, "I'm deeply pained to inform that six brave jawans of Assam Police have sacrificed their lives defending the Constitutional boundary of our State at the Assam-boundary." The CM has also directed the Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pijush Hazarika to proceed to the spot and monitor the situation.

The CM further tweeted, "I've just spoken to Mizoram Chief Minister Zoramthanga. I have reiterated that Assam will maintain status-quo and peace between the boundaries of our States. I have expressed my willingness to visit Aizawl, and discuss these issues if needed."

The Assam Chief Minister is constantly monitoring the situation. At the same time during the day, a high-level security meet reviewed the ground scenario at the HQs (Headquarters) of the DGP (Director General of Police) in Ulubari here.

Minister and local legislator (Barak Valley) Parimal Suklabaidya said, "How aggressive and violent acts were displayed by the Mizoram side towards our police personnel and civilians. This is despite the fact that our people maintained the highest patience and defended themselves."

Minister Suklabaidya has also left for the spot.

Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma again tweeted late at night, "Clear evidences are now beginning to emerge that unfortunately show that Mizoram Police has used Light Machine Guns (LMGs) against personnel of Assam Police. This is sad, unfortunate and speaks volumes about the intention and gravity of the situation."

IANS ADDS: According to sources, altogether 20 officials and civilians injured and a number of vehicles of the Assam government were damaged in the clashes.

Officials of both the States, including Cachar Deputy Commissioner Keerthi Jalli, and Superintendent of Police Nimbalkar Vaibhav Chandrakant, are camping at the trouble-torn Lailapur area, as they are trying to calm down the situation.

Though Assam officials have claimed that a large number of people from Mizoram attacked them — injuring 16 — six km inside the State; the Mizoram officials have claimed that people from Assam damaged a vehicle in which a Mizo couple was travelling to the State.

Significantly, Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma and his Mizoram counterpart Zoramthanga, in a series of tweets, sought to blame each other's officials for the situation, while calling on Amit Shah to urgently intervene to control the situation.

Tagging Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union Home Minister Amit Shah, the Mizoram CM said in his tweets: "Dear Himantaji, after the cordial meeting of CMs by Amit Shahji, surprisingly two companies of Assam Police with civilians lathi-charged & tear-gassed civilians at Vairengte Auto Rickshaw stand inside Mizoram today (Monday). They even overran CRPF personnel and Mizoram Police.

"Himanta Biswa Sarmaji, as discussed, I kindly urge that Assam Police be instructed to withdraw from Vairengte for the safety of civilians."

Tagging videos of the inter-State boundary clashes, Zoramthanga said: "Amit Shahji, kindly look into the matter. This needs to be stopped right now.

In another tweet, he said: "Innocent couple on their way back to Mizoram via Cachar manhandled and ransacked by thugs and goons. How are you going to justify these violent acts?"

Sarma, in his tweets, said: "Zoramthangaji, the SP of Kolasib is asking us to withdraw from our post, adding that until then their civilians won't listen nor stop violence. How can we run government in such circumstances? Hope you will intervene at earliest." He also tagged Amit Shah and the PMO in his tweets.

Mizoram's Aizawl, Kolasib and Mamit districts abut Assam's Cachar, Karimganj and Hailakandi districts. The inter-State boundary troubles were discussed when the Union Home Minister met the Chief Ministers of eight north-eastern States in Shillong on Saturday. The first Chief Minister-level meeting to resolve the boundary troubles between Assam and Meghalaya was held on Friday in Shillong. Both the sides decided to solve the disputes in the 12 bordering locations in a phased manner.

According to Assam Police, since October last year, several inter-State border skirmishes have taken place along the 164.6-km border in which one man was killed, and over 50 people injured, besides largescale damage caused to properties, including government-run schools, shops and houses along the border.

The Assam Chief Minister, during the ongoing Assembly session, had said that 1,777 hectares of land in the three districts bordering Mizoram have been encroached by some Mizos. On the other hand, Mizoram Chief Secretary Lalnunmawia Chuaungo rebutted the claim, saying that the lands referred to by the Assam Chief Minister had been with the residents of Mizoram's boundary villages for over 100 years, and hence, there is no question of encroachment.

Mizoram Home Minister Lalchamliana had said earlier that the crops of Mizo farmers had been destroyed at Buarchep (in Kolasib) by the Assam Police earlier this month; and demanded adequate compensation by the Assam government.

The Assam-Mizoram boundary troubles were calmed down last year following the intervention of the Union Home Minister, Union Home Secretary Ajay Kumar Bhalla, top Home Ministry officials and Chief Ministers of both states and then the central paramilitary troops were deployed along the boundary to prevent fresh troubles after a series of clashes and blockades on National Highway-306.

But since June 29, the troubles along the borders of the two north-eastern States have resumed after the two states accused each other of encroachment at Aitlang hnar near Vairengte, which borders Assam's Hailakandi district.

Tension further shot up when Assam officials reportedly destroyed some plantations at Buarchep in the Phainuam area bordering Cachar district on July 10 during eviction, even as Assam officials claimed that the people of Mizoram encroached more than six km into its territory.

Assam shares borders with six other north-eastern States; and, has boundary disputes with four — Nagaland, Arunachal Pradesh, and Meghalaya besides Mizoram. These and the disputes between the other States have led to violence, and unlawful activities, leading to deployment of Central paramilitary forces.

Meanwhile, the Government of Assam has stated in a press release late on Tuesday night, "In another breach of existing agreements and the existing status quo, Mizoram began constructing a road towards Rengti Basti in Assam, destroying the Inner Line Reserve Forest in Lailapur area. Simultaneously, the Mizoram side also set up a new armed camp on a hillock next to the camp of the neutral force, CRPF, in the same vicinity.

"In an attempt to diffuse the situation and resolve matters, a team of Assam officials including an IGP, DIG, DC Cachar, SP Cachar and DFO Cachar went to the area this morning to request the Mizoram side not to disturb the status quo.

"Sadly, however, they were surrounded and attacked by a mob of miscreants from the Mizoram side, which was visibly supported by the Mizoram Police. The aggressive behaviour and posture of this mob along with the fact that they were brandishing weapons and wearing helmets is clearly seen in all available video footage. While, the mob pelted stones on the Assam officials and destroyed three vehicles including the DC's car, the Mizoram Police simultaneously fired Tear Gas Shells on the delegation. The IGP was injured in this barrage.

"In the afternoon, SP Kolasib along with two Additional SP level Officers held a discussion with the Assam delegation, during which they were requested to control the mob and not let them take the law in their hands, thus disturbing the peace.

"The Mizoram officials went ostensibly to talk to the mob, but the SP Kolasib returned again around 4:30pm to state that he had no control over the mob. Horrifically, even while SP, Kolasib was in talks with the Assam officers, the Mizoram Police opened fire on the Assam officials and civilians, who had by then gathered there, from two dominating high features with automatic weapons including LMGs.

"It is with a heavy heart that we are constrained to note that what is being termed by the Mizoram side as an intrusion and aggression by Assam, has left 5 Assam Police personnel(SI Swapan Kr. Roy, Cn Liton Suklabaidya, Cn M.H. Barbhuyia, Cn N Hussain, Cn S Barbhuiya) confirmed dead (6 as per initial reports, which is being confirmed) and more than 50 injured, including SP Cachar, Shri Vaibhav Nimbalkar, IPS who has a bullet embedded in his leg and is in the ICU.

"The Assam Police and Officials have shown remarkable restraint in the face of an unimaginably horrific attack on them that is borne out by the fact that there are no casualties on the Mizoram side despite the huge number of miscreants attacking the Assam officials. The fact that there were a large number of civilians from Mizoram present in the area was taken into account by the Assam Police, which showed restraint even though the same people were attacking it.

"The Government of Assam is committed to maintaining cordial relations and peace, while restoring neighbourly relations. It requests the State of Mizoram to restrain its people and Police personnel from indulging in wanton violence, and work towards restoring peace."

Also Read: Miscreants from Mizoram Pelting Stones at Govt Official: Assam Police

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