Home Minister Shah took a special briefing from CRPF top brass and spoke to both Assam and Mizoram Chief Ministers separately, and chief ministers assured the home minister that the needful will be done to ensure peace and resolve the border issue.
New Delhi: Union Home Minister Amit Shah had to intervene and instruct both Assam and Mizoram Chief Ministers, Himanta Biswa Sarma and Zoramthanga respectively, to bring the situation under control.
The Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) finally intervened and taken the position to ensure amity along the Assam-Mizoram border after clashes claimed the lives of five Assam police personnel on Monday.
Two companies of CRPF, one from 119 Battalion in Assam and the other from 225 Battalion in Mizoram, were later deployed at Lailapur-Vairengte disputed site between Assam and Mizoram, CRPF ADG Sanjeev Ranjan Ojha said in Delhi.
While Mizoram DIG (Northern Range), Lalbiakthanga Khiangte, said, "We had no other choice but to retaliate in self-defence, the Assam government alleged that there was a breach of existing agreements and Mizoram side had set up a new armed camp on a hillock next to the camp of the neutral force.
Sources said the CRPF was directed to take control of the situation after 1600 hours. An uneasy prevailed on the ground after an unprecedented clash between police forces of two neighbouring states.
Home Minister Shah took a special briefing from CRPF top brass and spoke to both Assam and Mizoram Chief Ministers separately.
Both chief ministers have assured the home minister that the needful will be done to ensure peace and resolve the border issue.
BJP runs a coalition regime in Assam headed by Sarma. At the same time, Zoramthana is a senior leader of Mizo National Front (MNF), a BJP-ally and part of the saffron-party led NEDA.
Sarma, earlier in a tweet, mourned the death of six Assam police personnel. However, an updated version later said five cops lost their lives.
The martyred police personnel were identified as Mazrul Haque, Sapan Roy, Samsul Haque, Samsur Jaman Barbhuiyan and Litan Suklabaidya,
"I am deeply pained to inform that brave jawans of Assam police have sacrificed their lives while defending the constitutional boundary of our state at the Assam-Mizoram border. My heartfelt condolences to the bereaved families," the Assam Chief Minister wrote.
In a late evening tweet, he said: "Clear evidences are now beginning to emerge that unfortunately show that Mizoram Police has used Light Machine Guns (LMG) against personnel of Assam police. This is sad, unfortunate and speaks volumes about the intention and gravity of the situation."
Both the Chief Ministers also spoke among themselves, and it is learned Himanta Biswa Sarma may also visit Mizoram capital Aizawl and discuss the issues.
In his message on the microblogging site, Mizoram Chief Minister Zoramthanga alleged that two companies of Assam police 'with civilians' Lathi charged and tear-gassed civilians at Vairengte Auto Rickshaw stand inside Mizoram, which led to the confrontation.
In a message on the micro-blogging site with a video attached, Assam Chief Minister alleged that Mizoram police personnel and "goons" celebrated after killing 5 Assam police personnel and injuring many.
Mizoram Home Minister Lalchamliana issued a statement stating that with the intervention of Union Home Minister Amit Shah, who spoke to both the Chief Ministers, Assam Police have "withdrawn from the place and the duty post have been handed back" to CRPF personnel.
Sadly, hundreds of civilians from both sides hurled stones and charged at the security forces and others on both sides with sticks and rods.
Reportedly, there was also the use of tear-gas shells and air pellets.
Mizoram government desired that the inter-state border issue with Assam be resolved in peace and understanding, the state Home Minister said. "Accordingly, we call upon the State of Assam to create a congenial environment for peaceful resolution of the dispute."
Sources in Mizoram police said civilians from Assam forcibly occupied two buildings constructed by the Mizoram government recently to accommodate the India Reserve police personnel.
Mizoram Home Minister Lalchamliana also said that the state police responded “spontaneously by firing back” at Assam Police after its 200 personnel forcibly crossed a duty post manned by the CRPF personnel, indulged in arson and assaulted unarmed persons.
Reports from Silchar in Assam said that 65 police personnel, including the Cachar Superintendent of police, Nimbalkar Vaibhav Chandrakant, and the Dholai officer in charge, received bullet injuries in the clash.
"The Assam police and officials have shown remarkable restraint," the statement from the Assam government claimed and pointed out that thus there was no casualty on Mizoram side.
Three communally sensitive districts of Assam, Cachar, Karimganj and Hailakandi, with a substantial Muslim population, share a 164.6 km long border with Mizoram's Aizawl, Mamit and Kolasib districts.
Mizoram was part of Assam till 1972 when it became Union Territory, and later after rebel leader Laldenga came out for peace talks and solution, Mizoram got statehood in 1987.
Only on Saturday and Sunday, Shah held meetings with Chief Ministers of all northeastern states in Shillong and reportedly pointed that the border issues between different states should be brought to an end urgently and amicably by 2024.
Statehood were granted to Nagaland in 1963, Meghalaya in 1972 and Mizoram in 1987, but the border disputes between Assam and these 'newly created states' after Independence have stayed on.