NHRC issues notices to Centre, Assam, Mizoram on border clash

Acting on a complaint by one Md Injamul Haque of Assam, the NHRC on Sunday issued notices to the Union home secretary and the chief secretaries of Assam and Mizoram.

Guwahati: The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) issued notices to the Centre, Assam and Mizoram over the deadly border clash between the two Northeastern states in July, stating that “grave violation of human rights” took place.

Acting on a complaint by one Md Injamul Haque of Assam, the NHRC on Sunday issued notices to the Union home secretary and the chief secretaries of Assam and Mizoram, and asked them to file their reports within four weeks.

“The Commission has considered the matter. Facts of the case are disturbing. The allegations made in the complaint are serious in nature involving deaths and injuries to the public servants.

“The case therefore involves grave violation of Human Rights of the deceased and injured. Such types of cases are viewed very seriously by the Commission. In these circumstances, let a Notice be sent,” as per the details of the proceedings.

Accordingly, notices were issued and the matter will be put up before the full commission after four weeks.

At least six Assam Police personnel and one civilian were killed and more than 50 people injured as the festering border dispute between Assam and Mizoram erupted into a bloody conflict on July 26.

Border situation with Mizoram fragile: Assam CM

The chief ministers of the region will be present at a meeting of the North East Space Applications Centre (NESAC), to be chaired by Union Home Minister Amit Shah.

Guwahati: Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma on Tuesday said that the situation along the interstate border with Mizoram is currently “fragile” and it will take some time to resolve the disputes with the neighbouring state.

The chief minister, however, expressed optimism that some progress will be made in resolving boundary disputes with Meghalaya and Arunachal Pradesh when he meets his counterparts from these states of the North-eastern region on July 23 in Shillong.

The chief ministers of the region will be present at a meeting of the North East Space Applications Centre (NESAC), to be chaired by Union Home Minister Amit Shah, on that day.

The NESAC is a joint initiative of the Department of Space and the North Eastern Council (NEC) to augment development of the region by providing advanced space technology support.

Sarma said that he is expecting some headway during the talks to resolve the border disputes with Meghalaya and Arunachal Pradesh.

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As far as the boundary dispute with Nagaland is concerned, the matter is in the court, he said.

“The situation with Mizoram, however, is not conducive. We are not seeing eyeball to eyeball in Hailakandi district (bordering Mizoram). The situation is fragile. It will take some time with Mizoram,” he said.

Tension along the inter-state with Mizoram in Cachar and Hailakandi districts of Assam have been escalating in the last few days over Assam Police’s drive to clear land allegedly encroached by miscreants from across the border.

An IED was hurled on an Assam government team visiting the border by suspected miscreants on July 10, while two back to back explosions were heard from across the border in the wee hours of July 11.

A high-level meeting between officials of both the states, including the chief secretaries and DGPs, was also held in New Delhi a few days ago on the issue.

Assam moves court against Mizoram officials for ‘land encroachment’

The case was filed in the backdrop of tension between the two Northeastern states following alleged encroachment of land in Cachar district by the people of Mizoram.

Silchar (Assam): Assam on Thursday filed a suit before a court here in Cachar district against certain officials of the Mizoram government for alleged “encroachment of its forest land and intentional destruction of forests” across the state border.

The case was filed in the backdrop of tension between the two Northeastern states following alleged encroachment of land in Cachar district by the people of Mizoram.

Cachar Divisional Forest Officer Sani Deo Choudhury filed the petition against the Superintendent of Police and Deputy Superintendent of Police of Mizoram’s Kolasib district and Officers of CRPF’s 22 Battalion and the India Reserve Battalion of the neighbouring state.

It was filed under various sections of the Assam Forest Regulation Act.

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According to the Act, whoever violates it shall on conviction be punishable with imprisonment for a term not less than three years, which may extend to seven years or with fine, or with both.

Choudhury later told PTI that encroachers and miscreants from the neighbouring state have allegedly destroyed valuable trees as well as the forest.

He said that the Cachar forest department was planning to take more stringent measures to stop encroachment and protect Assam’s forests along the inter-state border.

Assam shares a 164.6 km border with Mizoram and the border demarcation has remained a contentious issue.

The situation has recently flared up in Khulicherra area of the district, where people from Mizoram have reportedly entered up to 6.5 kilometres inside Assam land a few days ago, following which the Assam Police along with civil administration carried out an eviction drive.

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Around 300 Assam Police personnel have been stationed on the border to prevent any bid of encroachment from Mizoram side.

People of neighbouring Mizoram have encroached on nearly 1,800 hectares of Assam land spread across three districts, Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said in the assembly on July 12.

A high-level meeting on the border issue attended by chief secretaries and DGPs of Assam and Mizoram was held in New Delhi on July 9.

Mizoram was part of Assam until 1972 when it was carved out as a Union Territory.

It became the 23rd state of India on 20 February 1987 following the historic Mizoram Accord between the erstwhile underground Mizo National Front (MNF) and the Centre, ending 20 years of insurgency in the state.

Nearly 1,800 hectares of land encroached by Mizoram: Assam CM

Assam CM Himanta Biswa Sarma's statement came amid tension between the two states following alleged encroachment of land in Cachar district by people of Mizoram

Guwahati: People of neighbouring Mizoram have encroached on nearly 1,800 hectares of Assam land spread across three districts, chief minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said in the assembly on Monday.

The chief minister’s statement came on the backdrop of tension between the two Northeastern states following the alleged encroachment of land in the Cachar district by the people of Mizoram.

In a written reply to a query by All India United Democratic Front (AIUDF) MLA Suzam Uddin Laskar, Sarma said that a total of 1,777.58 hectares of land in the Barak Valley region have been taken over by encroachers from Mizoram.

Out of this, the largest area of 1,000 hectares have been encroached in Hailakandi district, followed by 400 hectares in Cachar and 377.58 hectares in Karimganj, he added.

Sarma, who also holds the Home portfolio, said that various preventive measures like patrolling and area domination have been taken by the Assam Police in order to free the encroached land and protect the people living on the Assam side.

“Altogether nine Border Out Posts (BOP) have been established in Hailakandi, Karimganj and Cachar districts sharing border along Assam-Mizoram. Out of the nine BOPs, six are in Hailakandi, two are in Karimganj and one is in Cachar,” he added.

In Karimganj, two temporary camps have been set up at Choto Bhubirbond under Ratabari police station and Medhlicherra under Bazaricherra police station to counter any attempted encroachment of land belonging to Assam.

Besides, two permanent CRPF camps have been set up at Khulicherra and Lailapur under Dholai police station in Cachar, the chief minister said.

“The district administration of Cachar, Karimganj and Hailakandi are maintaining regular liaison and contact with their counterpart districts, mainly Kolasib and Mamit,” Sarma said.

He further said that several meetings at different levels between the two-state governments have been held to ensure the sanctity of the Constitutional boundary.

“Lately, on 09/07/2021, a chief secretary-level meeting was held between the State of Assam and Mizoram in New Delhi at the behest of Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India. All lawful steps are being taken to prevent encroachment in the Assam-Mizoram inter-state border,” Sarma said.

Mizoram shares about 164.6 km long border with Assam.

The hill state was part of Assam until 1972 when it was carved out as a Union Territory.

It became the 23rd state of India on 20 February 1987 following the historic Mizoram Accord between the erstwhile underground Mizo National Front (MNF) and the Centre, ending 20 years of insurgency in the state.

In a separate reply to a query by the Leader of the Opposition Debabrata Saikia, Sarma said that a total of 209 instances of encroachment of Assam land have taken place since 2016 when the BJP came to power in the state for the first time.

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These encroachments were carried out by people from Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland, Mizoram and Meghalaya, he added.

The Assam government has registered 127 cases and arrested three persons for encroachment, the Chief Minister said.

Mizo Groups Set Up Bunkers Along Inter-State Border

The tension along the Assam-Mizorm border took to a new turn when reports of people from the neighboring state setting up bunkers along the Lowirpoua-Kanmun national highway in Karimganj district surfaced.

According to reports, along with setting up bunkers miscreats have allegedly taken over possession of about three kilometres of the Medlichhara Forest Reserve area under Patharkandi Assembly constituency in the district.

Sources said that members of the Young Mizo Association and local Mizo residents are allegedly often gather at the disputed sites and shout slogans against the Government of Assam.

The DFO, Jalnur Rahman of Karimganj told The Assam Tribune that he lodged the case as per the decision taken at the administrative-level meeting held at Karimganj in the presence of Assam IGP (Law and Order) GP Singh.

Also Read: Mizoram Occupying 1.5 Km of Assam near State Border: Assam Forest Minister

Death of a Man Must Not Be Connected With Assam-Mizoram Border Dispute

Post the death of 48-year-old Assam resident died in a border village, Muslim organisations in Mizoram urged the people living along the inter-state border to maintain peace.

The Muslim organisations urged the people living on either side of the Mizoram-Assam border not to relate the death with the present border standoff.

A joint statement has been issued by the Mizoram Muslim Welfare Society (MMWD) and Aizawl Mosque Committee (AMC).

The statement said though the death of Intyaz Ali (Intazul Ali Laskar), who died on Monday in a hospital in Vairengte, might rise doubts because of the present situation, it is clear that the demise of the Lailapur resident has no connection with the border dispute and blockade on the NH-306 as he was reportedly arrested in a drugs-related case.

The statement said the economic blockade is not the solution to the border dispute, especially in the present scenario where everyone is suffering because of Covid19.

“The MMWS and AMC request the authorities of Cachar district, Assam government and the local people of Lailapur to lift the blockade immediately and allow all the Mizoram bound vehicles carrying essential commodities to enter the state immediately,” the statement said.

“People must understand that there is loss for both side whenever a problem like this arises. Further exaggeration in the border will lead to more complications.

“Peace and safety of the people on both sides must be the paramount importance of each and everyone, including the administrations,” the statement said.

The two organisations also urged the Centre and the governments of Mizoram and Assam to amicably solve the standoff at the earliest.

Assam Mulling NIA Probe Into Custodial Death of Assam Man in Mizoram

The Assam government is mulling to hand over the case of death of 48-year-old man from the state in Mizoram to the NIA while the week-long imbroglio along the inter-state borders continued despite visits by top officials.

Assam Environment and Forest Minister Parimal Suklabaidya said that the state government would institute an inquiry into the killing of Intyaz Ali (48) and is deliberating if the case should be handed over to the National Investigation Agency.

“Suklabaidya handed over a cheque of Rs 5 lakh as ex-gratia from the state government to the father of Intyaz Ali, who was abducted by Mizo miscreants and killed,” an Assam government release said.

Mizoram Home Secretary Lalbiaksangi, in a letter to her Assam counterpart, had said that Intyaz Ali, a resident of southern Assam’s Lailapur, was detained in the state’s Kolasib district on Sunday with drugs and he was then referred to a health centre for a checkup but was found dead on Monday.

Deputy Inspector General of Police, Southern Assam Range, Dilip Kumar Dey, however, had told the media that Ali’s brother informed the police on Sunday that Ali went to jungle to collect firewood and the Mizoram Police detained him.

Accompanied by Chief Secretary Jishnu Barua, Director General of Police Bhaskarjyoti Mahanta and Cachar Deputy Commissioner Keerthi Jalli, the Minister on Tuesday visited Lailapur along the inter-state border to take stock of the law and order situation.

Suklabaidya, who represents the area, has asked the people living close to the border not to cross over to the other side in view of the prevailing situation and assured them three border outposts would be set up permanently for their safety and security.

The Chief Secretary and the DGP told the media at Lailapur that Assam would not budge from an inch of its territory.

“Assam won’t give up its constitutional boundary with the neighbour. The land belongs to us. There is no second opinion about our constitutional boundary.Assam wants the boundary row to be resolved peacefully and amicably,” Barua said, as per the official release.

Barua said that the state government is in constant touch with the Central Government at the highest level on the border row and exuded optimism that the problem would be resolved amicably.

Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal had on Monday sent an urgent letter to Union Home Minister Amit Shah to apprise him of the situation.

Mizoram Chief Secretary Lalnunmawia Chuaungo had, in a letter to his Assam counterpart, said that the blockade on the NH 306 continued despite assurance from Assam government during the virtual meeting held under the chairmanship of Union Home Secretary Ajay Kumar Bhalla last week.

Due to the NH 306 blockade at Lailapur, over 250 Mizoram bound goods-laden vehicles are stuck as the agitators in southern Assam refused to call off their protest unless Mizoram withdraws its security personnel from Assam.

Lingering since October 9, the situation along the 164.6-km Assam-Mizoram border took an ugly turn when around 20 shops and houses were burnt and over 50 people sustained injuries in the attacks and counter-attacks by people on either side on October 17.

The trouble resurfaced on October 28 in Assam’s Cachar and Karimganj, which border Mizoram’s Mamit and Kolasib.

Tension Along Assam-Mizoram Border Continues as Man Dies in Custody

A man from Assam's Cachar district died in custody in Mizoram on Monday, escalating the tension between the two Northeastern states amid a border standoff.

Mizoram's Kolasib district Superintendent of Police Vanlalfaka Ralte told PTI that Intazul Laskar (45), a well-known drug peddler, was apprehended on Sunday evening when he crossed the inter-state border to deliver a consignment and later died at a health facility.

The deceased was identified as Intyaz Ali also differently known as Intazul Laskar is a resident of Lailapur in Assam’s Cachar district, police said.

According to reports, Ali was caught by volunteers of Young Mizo Association (YMA) when he tried to hand over the drug consignment to two locals in Mautui Zau forest area in Vairengte on Sunday afternoon.

He sustained injuries on both sides of his ankle joints as he jumped down from two gorges while trying to escape from the volunteers.

Later, the YMA volunteers handed Ali over to personnel of Excise and Narcotics department, who booked him under section 21 (a) of Narcotic Drugs & Psychotropic Substances Act, 1985 after the arrest.

Ali was admitted to a Community Health Centre (CHC) in Vairengte as he appeared to be generally weak, however, he died at 10:30 am on Monday.

The deceased relatives also alleged that he had gone missing from a forest area where he went to collect wood and a case was registered at the Dholai police station.

Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal on Monday wrote to Union Home Minister Amit Shah on the tension with Mizoram as a person from the Cachar district died in custody in the neighbouring state.

He also announced an ex-gratia of Rs. 5 lakh to the next of kin of the deceased, it said.

Meanwhile, Cachar district SP Bhanwar Lal Meena has written to his Kolasib counterpart asking him to investigate the case and follow all the NHRC guidelines applicable in the case of custodial death.

Farmhouse Along Assam-Mizoram Border Burnt to Ashes

A farmhouse near Phainuma village along the Assam-Mizoram border was burnt to ashes by unidentified persons on October 31.

It is to be mentioned that Phainuma village is located a few kilometers away from Saihapui ‘V’ village in which Bengali medium school on the disputed land was blown up by miscreants on October 22.

According to reports, the incident, which occurred on Saturday night around 7:30 pm, came to light when Mizoram’s apex student body Mizo Zirlai Pawl lodged a complaint with Vairengte police station on Sunday.

Police said the farmhouse belonged to a resident of Mizoram, R. Lalhmingliana of Phainuam village and was occupied by a non-tribal farmer, identified as Somir.

Assam-Mizoram Border Tension: Protesters Refuse to Call Off Blockade

The blockade in National Highway 306 at the Assam-Mizoram border entered the fourth day.

According to reports, agitators in southern Assam refused to call off their blockade of National Highway 306 as they seeked withdrawal of security personnel from Assam’s area.

Althought, Assam government earlier had said that the Mizoram government have agreed to withdraw their forces gradually from Assam’s territory but on October 29 Mizoram Home minister Lalchamliana has said that the government would not withdraw its forces from the state border with Assam till normalcy returns.

It is to be mentioned here that National Highway 306 is the lifeline of Mizoram which supply essential commodities to the state.

Also Read: Mizoram Will Not Withdraw Forces from Assam Border: Lalchamliana