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Assam govt issues travel advisory, says going to Mizoram is not safe

In Mizoram, Home Secretary Lalbiaksangi wrote in a letter to the Centre's Additional Secretary in-charge of Northeast that “armed personnel of Assam Police were moving to Dholai and Hawaithang areas, which are along the interstate border”.

Written by Tora Agarwala | Silchar |
Updated: July 30, 2021 7:02:45 am
At Lailapur police outpost on the Assam-Mizoram border. (Express photo by Tora Agarwala)

Four days after six Assam Police personnel were killed in violent clashes at the Assam-Mizoram border, the Assam government Thursday issued an unusual travel advisory asking people not to travel to Mizoram citing a “threat to personal safety”.

Mizoram, meanwhile, objected to a large contingent of Assam Police personnel being mobilised at the interstate border.

Assam’s advisory, from the state’s Home and Political Department, said: “Given the critical prevailing situation, the people of Assam are advised not to travel to Mizoram as any threat to personal safety of people cannot be accepted.” It also advised people of Assam, who stay in Mizoram for work, to “exercise utmost caution”.

The notice said there had been several cases of violent skirmishes in the border area, and that the latest incident had led to indiscriminate firing on police personnel as well as civilians in Cachar district.

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“Even after this incident, certain Mizo Civil society, students and youth organisations are constantly issuing provocative statements against the state of Assam and its people. It has been reliably learnt from video footage available with Assam police that many civilians are heavily armed with automatic weapons, etc. In view of the above and with the purpose of ensuring safety and security, a travel advisory is hereby issued to all the people of Assam,” it said.

In Mizoram, Home Secretary Lalbiaksangi wrote in a letter to the Centre’s Additional Secretary in-charge of Northeast that “armed personnel of Assam Police were moving to Dholai and Hawaithang areas, which are along the interstate border”.

“In view of the tense situation at present, mobilisation of a large contingent of police at the interstate border by Assam is quite objectionable, and will lead to apprehensions and panic among the people on both sides,” the letter said, while urging the Union Home Ministry to direct Assam to refrain from such reinforcement.

Since the clashes at the Lailapur (Assam)-Vairengte (Mizoram) border, an uneasy calm has prevailed at the site, with the Union Home Ministry ordering deployment of central forces.

On Wednesday, after a meeting of Union Home Minister Amit Shah with Chief Secretaries and DGPs of both states in Delhi, it was decided that the two sides should “continue discussions mutually to resolve the border issue in an amicable manner”.

The two states share a 164.6-km border between Assam’s Cachar, Hailakandi and Karimganj districts, and Mizoram’s Kolasib, Mamit and Aizawl. While tensions have been flaring over the past year at different spots of the contested border, Monday’s incident was the most violent.

On Wednesday, Mizoram Chief Minister Zoramthanga had tweeted a video of Assam residents receiving Covid vaccines at a church hall in Aizawl, with the message: “Our Assam brethren receiving their Covid vaccines at a Local Church hall in Aizawl. Non-Mizos from all walks of life within Mizoram are at peace. I urge everyone to remain peaceful and refrain from any sort of violence. NorthEast will always be One.”

In two more directives issued Thursday, Assam ordered that all vehicles entering the state from Mizoram be checked for “illicit drugs”, but also asked senior police officers and deputy commissioners in Cachar and Kamrup (Metro) districts to “ensure the safety and security of persons belonging to Mizoram staying at Mizoram Houses at Guwahati and Silchar”.

It said that all Deputy Commissioners and SPs across the state should “ensure safety and security of all people belonging to Mizoram”, who are under their jurisdiction.

On Thursday, several organisations had carried out demonstrations in front of Mizoram House in both Guwahati and Silchar against the deaths of the policemen.

In the other order, the Assam government said that since “trafficking of illicit drugs via Mizoram causes a great concern and threat to the society in general”, vehicles will be checked by police at entry points. “These vehicles shall be released only after due satisfaction of an officer, not below the rank of Sub-Inspector of Police, that no illicit drugs are carried in the vehicles,” it said.

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First published on: 30-07-2021 at 04:10:25 am
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