Assam-Mizoram border issue: Trucks resume movement after four days

GUWAHATI: Stranded trucks have started moving along the Assam-Mizoram highway after almost four days after the violent confrontation in Lailapur on Friday, Assam chief secretary Kumar Sanjay Krishna has said.

“Mizoram has pulled its forces up to the border outpost. We are in talks with them to pull back the forces further,” Home Secretary, Assam, Gyanendra Dev Tripathi, told ET.

Meanwhile, Satyendra Garg, joint secretary (North East), Ministry of Home Affairs, called on Mizoram Chief Minister Zoramthanga at his residence at Aizawl, following which Zoramthanga tweeted, “Had a very fruitful meeting with Satyendra Garg, Jt. Secy (North East), MHA, GOI, regarding #MizoramAssam border conflict. I praise the Ministry of Home Affairs for their dedication; their zeal for solving the current border dispute the two states shares at ground level”.

Mizoram’s Directorate of Information and Public Relations tweeted negating social media rumours that Mizoram has decided to pull back its forces which were deployed on October 18.

Mizoram had protested against a press statement issued by a local wing of the Assam Directorate of Information and Public Relations which stated that Mizoram had decided to pull out the forces on Wednesday.

Zoramthanga had tweeted, “Misinformation…. something we needed the least at this time”. The DIPR in Silchar has retracted the statement which it had sent after a meeting of the home secretaries of Assam and Mizoram and following an interaction with Garg on Wednesday.

Garg had also called on Governor PS Sreedharan Pillai. The state government stated that Garg had discussed the details and expected outcome of the joint border talk held on Wednesday under his chairmanship at Silchar, Assam, in which the home secretary of Mizoram and her counterpart from Assam were negotiating how to defuse the tension along the shared border areas.

He apprised the governor that the bilateral talk at the state home secretary level was a success and that the road blockade in the border area had been cleared and vehicles carrying essential goods were starting to enter Mizoram since last night. He also expressed his optimism of bringing back normalcy to the border area through the joint efforts of the two states. He said the marathon meeting between the officials from the two states at Silchar, Assam, will bear fruitful results eventually.

Pillai also discussed with Garg the state’s point of view on the border issue.

The immediate trigger for Saturday’s clash was when a Covid-19 testing centre was set up by the Mizoram officials 1.5 km from the inter-state border with Mizoram, at Lailapur in Assam territory (under Cachar district) on Friday. Assam district objected to the setting up of the testing centre to test the samples of Mizoram-bound truckers and other people without the permission of the Assam authorities.

The clashes between the locals led to a large number of residents from both sides getting injured. Police claimed that locals from Assam pelted stones following which residents from Mizoram villages retaliated despite prohibitory orders and destroyed more than two dozen hutments along the national highway.

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