Assam sends team to Hailakandi to verify claims of ‘attempted encroachment’ by Mizoram, tension grips inter-state border


A team of officials from the civil administration, police, and forest department is in Assam’s Hailakandi district to investigate Mizoram’s claims of “attempted encroachment.”

According to reports, people from Mizoram cleared a large area in Assam for jhum cultivation on Tuesday by “destroying forests.”

The Mizoram group, on the other hand, was “pushed back” after Assam Police rushed to the scene.

“We can’t say whether this is an encroachment or if they were clearing forests for jhum cultivation on the Mizoram side,” Hailakandi SP Gaurav Upadhyay told PTI.

People from Mizoram are said to have cut down over 100 trees in order to build a road to get to the area for jhum cultivation.

The trees were felled in the Gallacherra and Gutguti areas of Assam’s Hailakandi district. The forest area, according to Hailakandi deputy commissioner Rohan Kumar Jha, is under the jurisdiction of Assam.

Police superintendent (Hailakandi) Gaurav Upadhyay said things are normal now. He added the groups moved back as per their orders. “But a large forest area was destroyed. We have already informed higher authorities and also talked to officials of the Kolashib district of Mizoram.” He added attempts to destroy the forests were made in Gallacherra and Gutguti .

“Gallacherra is an area where Mizos have been residing for many years. But this time, a new forest area at Gutguti was also targeted. They destroyed trees and set them on fire. It is a reserve forest and there is no population,” Upadhyay said.

Assam shares a 164.6-kilometer border with Mizoram.

Hailakandi’s deputy commissioner Rohan Kumar Jha said the area, where the forest was cleared, is within 600 metres of a border outpost in Assam. “The area comes under Assam and it is a complete reserve forest,” Jha said He has written to his counterpart in Mizoram’s Kolasib. “We have made it clear that peace should not be disturbed. There has been a peaceful environment for the last three months…we should solve this with discussion. They should not make any move which can disturb the peaceful environment.”

Jha was quoted as saying, “The area comes under Assam and it is a complete reserve forest.”

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