“Letter War” over Assam-Mizoram border dispute

In the mid of ongoing Assam-Mizoram border stress, a Letter War has surfaced betwixt governments of Assam and Mizoram over the boundary dispute issues of the two states.

Claiming to disturb the local peace and normalcy, Assam government claimed that bunker-like structures are being built by the Mizoram Police with an increase in the number of personnel inside the territory of Kulicherra in Cachar district.

Cachar district Deputy Commissioner Keerthi Jalli raised the allegation in a letter to her Kolasib district correspondent across the border, on Friday.

Mizoram Chief Secretary Lalnunmawia Chuaungo in his letter to his Assam correspondent Jishnu baruah alleged that police personnels of Assam left oil tankers they were escorting to the neighbouring state near the border that allowed miscreants to attack the drivers.

In a letter, Jalli said, “…it has been reported on 29/10/2020 that there has been an increase in Mizoram Police Personnel and IR Bn force in Kulicherra area nearby to the 990 No. Dholakhar LP School.

“It has also been observed that construction activities have been taken up on NH 306, with bunker-like structures being set up with JCB movement.”

A huge number of civilians from local NGOs were mobilised on the National Highway, Jalli said in the letter, attaching photographs of the assembly of people.

“As you may be aware, construction in Reserve forest area, on a highway within Assam is unconstitutional and illegal.

Such acts of aggression disturb local peace and normalcy,” she added.

The presence of Mizoram forces within the territorial jurisdiction of Assam is causing “profound distress and bitterness” amongst the local public, the Cachar DC said in the communication to her Kolasib counterpart across the state border.

Jalli in her request to restore normalcy in the area asked the Kolashib DC to withdraw the Mizoram forces from the constitutional boundaries of Assam.

Mizoram Chief Secretary Lalnunmawia Chuaungo in his letter asked his Assam counterpart to allow the government to send police forces up to Silchar in Assam to escort all the stranded vehicles along the National Highway-306 bound for Mizoram.

He said that the drivers have lost confidence in the Assam Police after the escorted tankers from Silchar were abandoned at Lailapur near the border on Saturday.

“The personnel of Assam Police who escorted vehicles carrying POL (petroleum, oil, lubricant) from Mizoram House, Silchar to Mizoram deserted them near Lailapur and left them to fend for themselves and exposing them to grave danger to their safety.

“They barely managed to escape from the attack of some armed persons who threatened them and prevented them from proceeding towards Mizoram,” the letter said.

“The District Administrations of Kolasib and Cachar can work out the detail logistics. As the issue has gained much urgency, I request your quick positive response in the matter,” it said.

Despite assurance from his Assam counterpart during the meeting held on Thursday under the chairmanship of Union Home Secretary Ajay Kumar Bhalla, the Mizoram chief secretary pointed out that the blockade on the national highway has still continued.

Import of essential commodities such as LPG cylinders and oil, from neighbouring Tripura and Manipur states were hampered by the road block.

Mizoram Home Minister Lalchamliana has earlier said that the state government will not withdraw its forces till normalcy returns.

Agitators have blockaded the highway after six days when truck movement along the inter-state border resumed on October 22 following a Centre-brokered dialogue between Assam and Mizoram on October 21.

After officials from Assam’s Karimganj district destroyed a hut and some plantation in an area the highway got blocked.

Several people were injured after a violent clash took place between the near-border village Vairengte on October 17.

After the talk on October 21, the situation ca,e under control and normalcy was restored.

However, it fuled up again after officials from Assam were not allowed to enter a border area near Saihapui ‘V’ village, on Wednesday.