Updated: July 31, 2021 7:28:58 am
The Assam-Mizoram boundary dispute, in which six Assam Police personnel and a civilian were killed in firing and clashes last Monday, became a full-blown crisis Friday when Assam summoned six officials of Mizoram’s Kolasib district and sent police after the state’s lone Rajya Sabha MP.
Mizoram retaliated by disclosing that police of Kolasib district — it borders Assam’s Cachar district and its SP is among six summoned by Assam — had lodged an FIR on July 26, the day of the incident, against Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma and six officials.
The FIR, filed at the Vairengte police station in Kolasib district, names Sarma, IGP Anurag Aggarwal, DIG Cachar Devajyoti Mukherjee, DC Cachar Keerthi Jalli, DFO Cachar Sunnydeo Choudhury, SP Cachar Chandrakant Nimbalkar, OC Dholai police station Sahab Uddin. The sections invoked against them include 307/120-B/270/325/326 and 353/336/ 334/448/34 of the Indian Penal Code and Section 3 of the Bengal Eastern Frontier Regulation (BEFR) as well as Section 3 and 6 of the Mizoram Containment and Prevention of Covid-19 Act and Section 27(1) (a) of the Arms Act.
In an official communication Friday, the SDPO of Vairengte asked the Assam Chief Secretary and DGP to ask the officers named to be referred to the Vairengte police station.
Earlier in the day, Assam summoned Mizoram officials to the Dholai police station in connection with its probe into the July 26 incident
DSP Kalyan Das issued identical notices to Kolasib Deputy Commissioner H Lalthlangliana, SP Vanlalfaka Ralte, Additional SP David JB, Vairengte SDO (Civil) C Lalrempuia, Vairengte SDPO Thartea Hrangchal and India Reserve Battalion Additional SP Bruce Kibby.
The notices asked them to appear before the Dholai police station Investigating Officer on August 2 in connection with the FIR under sections 153A/ 447/336/379/ 333/ 3O7/ 3O2/ 427/ 147/ 148/149/120(B)/ 34 of Indian Penal Code along with sections 25(1-A)/27 Arms Act with section 3 of Prevention of Damage to Public Property Act.
Kolasib SP Ralte told The Indian Express that he had not received the notice. “I have not officially received the notice yet, but I saw it on social media,” he said, adding: “Even if I get it officially, I will not go there… this is just Assam officials doing drama… Why should I go there? There is no point in it,” he said.
An Assam Police officer, on the other hand, said: “These were the officials who were holding the charge of the Kolasib district and the forces there on that day. They have to explain why they gave orders to open fire on our men. If they did not, they must become our witnesses and tell us who did.”
An Assam Police team also reached Delhi looking for Mizoram Rajya Sabha K Vanlavena. Sources said it reached Mizoram House but could not find him there. It attempted to serve the summons through the Resident Commissioner who declined to accept it.
Thereafter, the notice was pasted outside the MP’s residence. “The summons have officially been served. Now Vanlavena must cooperate with investigations or further legal action in the form of issuance of arrest warrant will be taken,” the police officer said.
The summons issued to Vanlavena stated: “It has come to light that you have given a threatening statement in media targeting civil and police officials in connection with the incident which is a subject matter of investigation. Therefore, there are reasonable grounds to question you to ascertain facts and circumstances from you.”
The MP has been asked to appear before the OC of the Dholai police station at 11 am on August 1 “without fail”.
Meanwhile, news agency PTI quoted Chief Minister Sarma saying people of Assam should not visit Mizoram till all arms possessed by civilians are seized.
“We have requested the people not to visit Mizoram till the situation normalises. Let us study the situation first. We can visit Mizoram when there is peace,” Sarma told reporters on the sidelines of an official programme at Chirang.
“When there are AK-47 and sniper rifles with civilians, how can you allow people to visit there? The Mizoram government should seize these arms from their civilians. People are apprehensive about this,” he was quoted as having said.
Members of the Mizoram Boundary Committee, formed on July 23, passed a resolution that the state’s northern side will follow the 1875 boundary demarcation. “The Committee will continue its stance that the Mizoram-Assam Boundary be desirably resolved on the basis of this document alone,” a release from the Mizoram government said.
The dispute over the Assam-Mizoram border stems from demarcation of the border done on two different dates. While Mizoram believes the boundary should be demarcated on the basis of the 1875 notification (that differentiated Lushai Hills from the plains of Cachar), Assam follows the 1933 notification that demarcated the boundary between Lushai Hills and Manipur.
The Mizoram government release said “border issues cannot be resolved through the means of force” and the matter should be settled through “mutual dialogues and deliberations”.
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