Mizoram on Wednesday complained to the Union Home Ministry that an “economic blockade” by Assam on from Monday and “destruction” of railway lines on Tuesday badly affected supply of essentials and foodgrains to the state.
Monday’s violent border clashes and firing along Assam-Mizoram border left six Assam Police personnel dead and around 100 civilians and security personnel of the two neighbouring states injured, including an Inspector General of Police in Assam and Cachar Superintendent of Police Vaibhav Chandrakant Nimbalkar.
In her letter to Union Home Secretary Ajay Kumar Bhalla, Home Secretary Pi Lalbiaksangi said that the National Highways and railway lines are owned and managed by the Central government and no state agency and entity or the general public has any right to block them and restrict the movement of people and goods through them.
She requested that the Centre may intervene and instruct the Assam government to take necessary action for the immediate removal of the blockade to ensure resumption of the movement of goods and passengers along the NH and railways.
“The NH 306 and other roads connecting Mizoram with other parts of the country via Assam have been blocked by Assam from Monday. The NH-306 is the lifeline of Mizoram for ferrying essential commodities and fuels. The blockade is affecting the livelihood of the people of Mizoram adversely. Movement of vehicles along other routes connecting Mizoram and Assam have also been blocked inside Assam,” Lalbiaksangi said.
She said that a “state-sponsored economic blockade” was earlier imposed by Assam from October 17 to November 11 last year and “that 26-day blockade had seriously affected the livelihood of the people of Mizoram, resulting in various hardships”.
“Incidents like this have occurred numerous times in the past in connection with other incidents. Further, it is also reported that unknown miscreants from Assam have destroyed the Mizoram-bound railway tracks at Mohammedpur Railway station and Ramnathpur in Assam.”
Meanwhile, a 12 hour shutdown, called by local party Barak Democratic Front, to protest the Monday’s violent border firing and clashes, crippled normal life, business activities and official works on Wednesday in the three Assam districts — Cachar, Karimganj and Hailakandi — bordering Mizoram.
In another incident, the Assam Police on Wednesday did not allow a seven member Congress team led by state party President Bhupen Kumar Bora to visit the trouble-torn bordering areas.
The delegation, which also included Leader of Opposition Debabrata Saikia, was stopped at Dholai Bazar and not allowed to proceed further.
The Congress vehemently condemned the banning of visit of the party delegation.
Bora told the media that it is a big conspiracy of the BJP government to not allow opposition leaders to go to the site of the violence while allowing Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma and other leaders of the ruling BJP to do so.
The North East Democratic Alliance (NEDA) led by Home Minister Amit Shah has decided to deploy Central forces along the Assam-Mizoram borders which witnessed bloody clashes between the police forces of the two northeastern states on Monday, which led to the death of six Assam police personnel.
The decision to deploy Central paramilitary forces was taken during a meeting chaired by Union Home Secretary Ajay Bhalla on Wednesday, sources said, adding that the Central forces were chosen to ensure neutrality and direct supervision from New Delhi.
Bhalla chaired the meeting which was attended by Mizoram Chief Secretary Lalnunmawia Chuaungo and DGP S.B.K. Singh, along with Assam Chief Secretary Jishnu Baruah and DGP Bhaskar Jyoti Mahanta.
The meeting was also attended by the Director General of CRPF, Kuldiep Singh.
The governments of Assam and Mizoram have blamed each other in public for the border disputes after Monday’s bloody clashes, which took place two days after Shah chaired a meeting of NEDA on July 24.
Cachar, Karimganj and Hailakandi districts in Assam’s Barak Valley share 164 km borders with three Mizoram districts — Aizawl, Kolasib and Mamit.
Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said on Wednesday, “The people of Assam and Mizoram have shared close relations and common interests for decades. Nobody is an enemy of the other. Then why use arms? Such border disputes can only be resolved amicably and through discussions.”
“It might be that some people in Mizoram are annoyed after the Assam government curtailed the drugs trade chain from Myanmar to other parts of India via Mizoram and Assam. A section of Mizoram police might have clandestine relations with the armed civilians of that state. The Mizoram government must probe this with utmost priority. I request the Mizoram Chief Minister to look into this serious issue,” Sarma added.
Meanwhile, Mizoram Chief Minister Zoramthanga on Wednesday urged the people to maintain peace and calm.
“I sincerely request all to stay calm and promote peace in this time of great difficulty. Mizoram hopes for an amicable solution with the help of intervention from the Central government,” he tweeted.