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Wednesday, September 22, 2021

States agree on CAPF at disputed site; Mizoram ‘delays’ withdrawal of forces

While Assam has withdrawn its troops, Mizoram Police has not only continued to hold its position but also reinforced its posts, sources said on Wednesday.

Written by Deeptiman Tiwary , Tora Agarwala | New Delhi, Silchar |
Updated: July 29, 2021 5:31:27 am
Along the Assam-Mizoram border on Wednesday. (Express)

Two days after clashes on the Assam-Mizoram border left seven people dead on the Assam side, both states have agreed in principle to withdraw troops from the disputed site, even as modalities are still being worked out.

While Assam has withdrawn its troops, Mizoram Police has not only continued to hold its position but also reinforced its posts, sources said on Wednesday.

At North Block, Union Home Secretary Ajay Bhalla held a meeting of more than two hours with chief secretaries and DGPs of both states in an effort to ease the tension.

Both states agreed for “deployment of a neutral force” — the CRPF, in this instance — in the disturbed area along NH-306, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) said in a statement after the meeting. “Both governments also agreed to continue discussions mutually to resolve the border issue in an amicable manner,” it added.

Assam Chief Secretary Jishnu Baruah said withdrawal of forces was still being worked out. Asked whether Mizoram had agreed to withdraw its forces, Baruah said, “It is being worked out.”

His Mizoram counterpart, Nunamwia Chuaungo, said, “We all are trying to maintain peace. There is no need for violence. The forces are being withdrawn.”

Sources, however, said the situation remains tense on the border between Lailapur in Assam and Mizoram’s Vairengte.

“Mizoram Police has not only refused to withdraw but even reinforced its positions in the last couple of days,” an MHA official said. “There are currently 2,000 policemen there from Mizoram side, holding over a dozen positions. Until they withdraw and hand over charge to CRPF, the situation will remain tense. Things are being worked out.”

CFPF has sent four companies to the area but has not been able to take charge of Mizoram Police posts in the region, it is learnt.

On Wednesday, Assam Police said it has registered a case at Dholai police station under different IPC Sections, including those dealing with murder (302), attempt to murder (307) and criminal trespass (447).

Mizoram police “are also mentioned in this case since they fired, and people died because of this firing,” Cachar district SP Ramandeep Kaur said.

In a statement, Assam Police said it has prepared a “picture gallery” of Mizoram Police personnel and civilian miscreants who fired at Assam Police personnel on Monday. “They would be brought to law” it said.

Meanwhile, provocative statements from either side continued. A day after Assam CM Himanta Biswa Sarma said that he was raising a 3,000-strong commando force to guard the interstate boundary with Mizoram, Rajya Sabha MP from Mizoram, K Venlavena, on Wednesday threatened that all Assam police personnel would be killed the next time such clashes occur.

In a media interview outside Parliament, Venlavena, when asked about Monday’s clashes, said, “They (Assam Police) gave the firing order first, before we fire (fired at) them. They are lucky that we don’t (did not) kill them all. If they come again, we will kill them all.”

Special DG, Assam Police, G P Singh said a police team was leaving for Delhi to “take lawful action” against Venlavena in the context of his statements.

Cachar SP Kaur said the central forces are maintaining neutrality. “It is status quo right now…the respective state police forces are also stationed on either side. Additionally, forest camp security is being strengthened in other parts of the border,” she said. Her counterpart at Kolasib, K Vanlalfaka Ralte, said that even if no incident took place, “the situation is still very tense”.

On Wednesday, Lailapur police in Assam did not allow anyone, including the media, to go near the boundary site, saying it was “risky”.

A Congress delegation led by state unit chief Bhupen Borah was stopped at Dholai police station, about 8 km from the border.

Borah called it a “conspiracy” of the BJP-led government to not let Opposition leaders go to the site of violence, while allowing the Chief Minister and other members of the ruling party. “This is not the India-Pakistan border that we should be stopped…it is an interstate border. So why are we being stopped,” he asked at Dholai police station.

Mizoram CM Zoramthanga tweeted that he requests “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”.

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