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Mizoram imposes Section 144 in disputed village along Tripura border over temple construction

Mizoram’s Mamit District Magistrate Dr Lalrozama said the prohibitory order issued Friday followed after an organisation of Tripura named Songrongma had plans to construct a Shiv temple on October 19 and 20 at Thaidaw Tlang in Mamit district.

Written by Debraj Deb | Agartala |
Updated: October 17, 2020 7:03:24 pm
Mizoram temple, Mizoram temple dispute, temple dispute Mizoram, Mizoram section 144, section 144 imposed in Mizoram, Mizoram news, India news, Indian ExpressPhuldungsai is on the Jampui Hills, the highest hill range in the state bordering Mizoram. (Express Photo)

Seven days after it objected to construction of a temple and “community work” at Phuldungsei village atop Jamui hill along Tripura-Mizoram inter-state border, Mizoram has imposed restrictions on public movement under Section 144 with effect from October 16 till further orders.

Mizoram’s Mamit District Magistrate Dr Lalrozama said the prohibitory order issued Friday followed after an organisation of Tripura named Songrongma had plans to construct a Shiv temple on October 19 and 20 at Thaidaw Tlang in Mamit district.

“…This has been planned without the permission of the Govt. of Mizoram and is against the interest of the local community and could harm peace and tranquility in the region… it is necessary to prohibit people from assembling in groups to prevent any untoward incident, which is likely to disrupt or adversely affect peace and tranquility prevailing in the region”, the notice available with reads.

The prohibitory notice states that assembly of five or more persons is prohibited in the village and surrounding areas of Phuldungsei Zampi and Zomuantlang, Mamit district, Mizoram from October 16 and would continue until further orders. Any violation of the order would be dealt with under section 188 of the IPC, which is punishable with one month imprisonment or Rs 200 fine or both and imprisonment up to six months if the violation poses threat to human life, health, safety or is a potential cause for breakdown of law like rioting.

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A team of Tripura’s local administration led by DM Nagesh Kumar and Superintendent of Police Bhanupada Chakraborty is visiting the disputed village today. An official, who didn’t wish to be named, told that Phuldungsei remains under the administrative control of Tripura and not Mizoram. The official also said the issue was taken up by Tripura with Mizoram at the topmost quarters.

The standoff between Tripura and Mizoram centering on Phuldungse village started three months ago in August when Tripura identified a dispute in the village.

A report of the local administration found that 130 villagers living at Phuldungsei village were registered both in Tripura and Mizoram and had names in electoral rolls in both states, two ration cards and enjoyed public welfare benefits of both states.

The issue was first flagged by Tripura royal scion Pradyot Kishore Manikya Debbarma on social media, soon after which the state government took up the issue.

The local administration of North Tripura district, which maintained that Phuldungsei is a part of Tripura, also found that a part of the village was shown in Mizoram’s territorial area.

A letter from Kanchanpur Sub-Divisional Magistrate (SDM) Chandni Chandran to her superiors in August mentioned that Phuldungsei Village Council has been added as part of the constituency as Zampui Phuldungsei.

“….Traditional Phuldungsei VC as a whole (despite Eastern side falling in Mizoram) has been accepted as a part of Tripura. Hence, the inclusion of the VC and its residents in Mizoram electoral rolls seems to be problematic. There is an urgent need to demarcate the exact boundary between Mizoram and Tripura incorporating the entire Phuldungsei VC in Tripura”, her letter read. Subsequently, a joint survey was agreed upon.

However, Mizoram has maintained that the village is under the state’s territorial area and flagged objections to announcement of construction of a temple and ‘community work’ in the area and termed the inter-state boundary ‘disputed’.

In a letter to Tripura Home Secretary BK Sahu, Mizoram Home Secretary Lalbiaksangi said any activities done within the ‘disputed’ inter-state boundary could result in law and order problems and sought ‘immediate and indefinite’ stoppage of all sorts of work in the area.

“….report has been received by the Government of Mizoram regarding attempts by SONGRONGMA of Tripura to construct a mandir at the disputed inter-state border village near Phuldungsei at Thaidawr tlang, Mamit district. It is also reported that community work is proposed to be organized on 19th and 20th October, 2020. Since any activities within the disputed inter-state border can result in law & order problems, it is requested to kindly intervene and issue necessary instructions to the concerned District Administration for the immediate and indefinite stoppage of the proposed construction”, the letter had said.

A joint spot verification drive with the two state governments is expected to be held soon, facilitated by the Survey of India.

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