Mizoram on Thursday dashed off its third missive to the Centre in two days, warning of a fresh border showdown after its neighbour Assam ramped up its posts in the vicinity of the disputed zone that is now under the CRPF’s watch.
Assam claimed late in the evening that bunkers built by alleged Mizo intruders had been found in the Bhubirband area of Karimganj district’s Ratabari. A few years ago, Mizos had allegedly intruded into Bhubirband and occupied a large area. “As of now, the situation is under control. We are not going to take any chances this time. We are alert and monitoring the situation. There is no need to panic,” Karimganj SP Padmanabha Barua said.
Residents of the area claimed two Assamese families had been evicted from their homes by Mizo miscreants over the past 48 hours. Ratabari’s BJP MLA Bijoy Malakar said, “At this point, I have not observed any aggressive move from the Mizo side. I have arranged everything from a generator to drinking water for our police force. They are manning the area very competently. A Lailapur-like incident is unlikely to happen at Bhubirband”.
The statement came hours after Mizoram home secretary Pi Lalbiaksangi said in a letter to the home ministry’s additional secretary (northeast) that armed police personnel were being mobilised by Assam at Dholai and Hawaithang, situated along the inter-state border. “There is also a news report that four platoons of Black Panther commandos are part of this reinforcement.”
Lalbiaksangi said mobilisation of a large contingent of armed police by the Assam government was “objectionable” in view of the already tense border situation. She requested the home ministry to issue “appropriate instructions” to Assam to “refrain from such reinforcements and pull back those contingents“.
Mizoram had written to home secretary Ajay Kumar Bhalla on Wednesday to immediately get Assam to lift the economic blockade clamped by residents of the Barak Valley with the government’s alleged support.
In a clarification on Thursday, Assam denied there was any economic blockade on NH-306, Mizoram’s lifeline, or any other road leading to the hill state. Cachar SP Ramandeep Kaur said truckers and food-grain merchants had voluntarily stopped supplying goods to Mizoram after Monday’s flare-up.