Trouble continued along Assam-Mizoram border on Saturday with the Mizoram Police alleging that a Mizo student was injured in firing on a group by the Assam Police at Zopui, while the latter denied the charge and claimed that the protesters were only pushed back when they tried to intrude into the state.
The Mizoram Police claimed that one student was injured in firing by the Assam Police at Zopui near Mizoram-Assam border town of Bairabi. Several other members of the Mizo Zirlai Pawl (MZP), the Mizo apex students body, were also injured as security forces in Assam resorted to lathicharge at Zopui locality of the town, the Mizoram Police said.
The MZP said its members were trying to construct a rest house in the land of the late Ch Chhunga, first chief minister of the state, at Zopui in Kolasib district. Assam’s Hailakandi district Deputy Commissioner Adil Khan, however, said, “We have acted with utmost restraint and applied minimum force to push back the MZP members when they intruded into Assam’s territory.”
Asserting that no excesses were committed by the district administration on the MZP activists, Khan said there is no report of any injury to anyone.
The Hailakandi administration has clamped prohibitory orders under section 144 of CrPC in certain pockets of the district, apprehending encroachment attempts from the Mizoram side, on March 7.
Assam and Mizoram have a long-standing boundary dispute, and there had been tension in the Hailakandi-Kolasib region several times in the past too.
The Mizoram Police said one MZP activist received bullet injury in the leg by the Assam Police personnel while shooting around eight rounds to disperse around 100 students. Several other students were injured in the lathi-charge. They said the student activists have been camping in the area to construct the rest house called ‘Zofate Chawlhbuk’ since March 8 where a large number of Assam’s India Reserve Battalion were deployed to prevent them from doing so.
The Hailakandi DC, who is at the spot since this morning, said MZP activists entered into Assam’s territory at Kachurthal and attacked personnel of the Assam Police and para military forces leading to a mild lathi-charge. “We have ensured not an inch of Assam’s land is encroached upon,” he said.
Meanwhile, opposition parties in Mizoram condemned Chief Minister Lal Thanhawla of failing to protect the state’s territory.
Earlier, Assam’s Additional Chief Secretary, Home and Political, Alok Kumar had asked his Mizoram counterpart to take immediate steps to avert any untoward incident and to maintain status quo along the interstate boundary.
The Hailakandi DC had also talked to his Kolasib counterpart R Zarzosanga on the situation.