Villagers clashed with police near the Indo-Myanmar border in Mizoram’s eastern Champhai district Thursday as they protested the detention of more than 10 community leaders, including five elected village council members.
Nearly 100 armed policemen reached Selam village near Lengteng Wildlife Sanctuary on Wednesday, days after angry villagers set fire to a forest department truck when officials tried to seize illegal timber from the sanctuary. Initially, the police team held talks with the community leaders. When the talks apparently failed, police took 10-odd villagers in their custody. The move led to clashes and police had to fire tear-gas shells. A villager claimed that five men and several women sustained injuries in the clash.
An additional company of armed policemen has been sent to the area. Village leader N Lalhmachhuana, who has been taken into custody, earlier said the villagers resent the government’s decision to divert about 45 sq km of the village land to the sanctuary.