The Rising Dispute Between Assam and Mizoram

Chris Steward
Chris Steward
Dispute Between Assam and Mizoram

Old boundary dispute of 150 years old, led to the violent clash between Assam and Mizoram Police personnel on Monday at a Contested Border Point. Last year in Assam, in October, residents of the two states clashed two times in a row in the same week, as a result, eight people were injured and a few shops and huts were set up on fire.

Mizoram has a border with Assam at Barrak Valley and both these states share boundaries with Bangladesh. The boundary between Assam and Mizoram runs 165 km wide, this has a history, which runs back to the time Mizoram was a part of Assam, known by the name of Lushai Hills. Boundary demarcation took place in 1875 and 1933, demarcation in 1875 was done to separate Lushai hills from Cachar plains in Barak Valley of Assam and was derived from Bengal Eastern Frontier Regulation (BEFR) Act of 1873, and this demarcation was done by consulting Mizo chief.

Another demarcation of 1933 separated Mizoram from Manipur giving rise to the tri-junction between Cachar Plains, Manipur, and Lushai Hills. According to Mizo leaders, 1933 demarcation took place without any consultation with Mizo chief at that time, so the only acceptable boundary demarcation for them is of 1875. In 2018, a memorandum was submitted to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, by the political leaders, NGOs, which said, “The present so-called boundary was arbitrarily made in 1930 and 1933 without the consent and approval of the competent authorities and the people of the Lushai Hills, now Mizoram, thereby unreasonably excluding some of the Lushai inhabited areas such as Cachar Zion, Tlangnuam, Lala Bazar and Banga Bazar,”. 164 km long forested area is in the contest and both Assam and Mizoram are accusing each other of encroaching further in that land, this issue was first seen in 1994 and since then clashes have been continued.

Mizoram accused Assam of entering their land of Kolasib District and Assam accused Mizoram of planting saplings 10 km inside of Hailakandi Districts of Assam. The Intensity of clashes increased from June 30th when Officials went to the borders of Hailakandi, they were forced to return by Mizo encroachers. On July 10, betel nuts were seen which belonged to Mizo farmers, and on July 25th, eight farm huts belonging to Mizo farmers were set on fire.

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The violence that occurred on Monday was so flared that six Assam police personnel were killed. Chief Minister of Assam Sri Himanta Biswa Sarma and of Mizoram Zoramthanga argued on Twitter blaming each other and sought the intervention of the Centre. Union Home Minister Amit Shah has requested the chief ministers of both the states to ensure the restoration of peace in order to seek an “amicable solution” to the problem of the boundary dispute.

Assam has been involved in several disputes with its neighboring states i.e. all the other northeastern states. Assam and Nagaland share a 500 km boundary and since 1965, in several phases, violent disputes have taken place. Few disputes also led to some deaths too. In 2008, a paper was published by Manohar Parrikar Institute for Defense Studies and analysis.

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