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Friday, December 04, 2020

Tripura’s Bru, Chakma bodies write to Amit Shah: ‘Close Tripura-Mizoram border crossing until boundary dispute resolves’

The inter-state boundary dispute came to light in August this year after Tripura identified 130 people living in the village, who had names in electoral rolls in both Tripura and Mizoram, double ration cards and enjoyed public welfare benefits from both states.

Written by Debraj Deb | Agartala | Updated: October 23, 2020 5:15:49 pm
Bru migrants, Bru migrants displaced, Tripura Bru migrants, Bru migrants Tripura, Bru migrants Mizoram, northeast news, Indian ExpressIn January this year, the Centre signed a four-corner agreement to resolve the 23-year old Bru displacement crisis in Tripura . (Express file photo by Abhishek Saha)

Three days after Tripura and Mizoram temporarily resolved an impasse over administrative control of Phuldungsei, a tribal hamlet atop Jampui Hills, crisscrossing the Tripura-Mizoram inter-state boundary, a joint team of Bru migrants and the ethnic Chakma community has now written to Home Minister Amit Shah seeking his intervention to immediately shut down all border crossings between Tripura and Mizoram until further order and amicable solution of the boundary dispute.

The inter-state boundary dispute came to light in August this year after Tripura identified 130 people living in the village, who had names in electoral rolls in both Tripura and Mizoram, double ration cards and enjoyed public welfare benefits from both states. The issue was first flagged by Tripura royal scion Pradyot Kishore Manikya Debbarma on social media after which the state government soon took up the issue.

However, the issue piqued authorities on both sides after a local Bru organistion called Songorongma announced its plan to construct a Shiv temple and carry out community activities in the area on October 19 and 20. Mizoram objected to the move and issued a prohibitory order in the village.

After a series of letter exchanges between both states, intervention of the Centre and rollback of the temple construction plan for the moment, the tension subsided on October 18 after Mizoram withdrew the order following dialogue between the two state governments.

Claiming that Mizoram is trying to “interfere” in the internal affairs of Tripura, five Bru and Chakma organisations – Bru Socio-Cultural Organization (BSCO), Young Chakma Association (YCA), Chakma National Council of India (CNCI), Triupra Chakma Students’ Association (TCSA) and Tripura Chubalai Buthu (TCB) – have sent a joint memorandum to the Home Minister on Thursday through the North Tripura District Magistrate asking for complete closure of inter-state boundary crossings between Tripura and Mizoram till the boundary dispute is finally resolved.

“The Government of Mizoram has claimed over a village named Phuldungsei in Jampui Hill in North Tripura District. They have forcefully conducted a village council election in the said village and have included within their state territory. The village of Phuldungsei in Jampui Hill in North Tripura District has always been a part of Tripura and in whatsoever has never been a part of Mizoram. Therefore, we demand that a border amicable solution be undertaken immediately under the supervision of the Union Home Ministry,” the memorandum, available with indianexpress.com, reads.

The memo also accused Mizoram of “undemocratically” destroying a Shiv temple at Phuldungsei and a Buddhist temple at Kanpui, one of the last villages in Jampui Hills in Tripura before the Mizoram territory starts.

Tripura shares a 66-km inter-state boundary with Mizoram. The religious bodies have demanded the Union Home Minister to permanently resolve boundary dispute between the two states, ensuring no interference in religious places of worship among other demands.

A letter from Kanchanpur Sub-Divisional Magistrate (SDM) Chandni Chandran to her superiors in August this year 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; the survey is yet to be held by Survey of India. However, Mizoram has maintained that the village is under the state’s territorial area.

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