Updated: July 27, 2021 3:15:32 pm
The Assam government will move the Supreme Court seeking protection of Innerline Forest Reserve from destruction and encroachment, Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said on Tuesday, a day after border clashes with Mizoram left at least five state policemen dead.
He told a press conference in Silchar that satellite images have shown that roads are being constructed and forests cleared for jhum cultivation which cannot be allowed. “We will move the Supreme Court to ensure that the forests are protected,” he said.
Jhum cultivation is a farming activity where farmland is cleared of trees and other vegetation and then set on fire. The practice is followed in most states of the northeast.
“The dispute is not regarding land but encroachment of reserved forests is the issue. We have no settlements in the forest areas and, if Mizoram can give evidence, we will immediately carry out eviction,” he said.
The chief minister asserted that not an inch of Assam’s land could be encroached by the neighbouring state. “People have sacrificed their lives but boundary has been protected which we will continue to do at any cost,” he asserted.
After the vexed border dispute erupted into bloody clashes with security personnel and civilians from the two states going after each other on Monday, the Centre had directed them to move away their forces from the border post.
“We have done so but Mizoram is yet to do so. Our police forces are, however, deployed 100 metres from the post,” Sarma said.
The Assam government, he said, will deploy three commando battalions in Cachar, Karimganj and Hailakandi districts bordering Mizoram to strengthen security.
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