AIZAWL: The Mizoram government alleged on Friday that neighbouring Assam was laying claims on its territories, which the residents of its border villages have been occupying for over 100 years.
Speaking to PTI, Mizoram Chief Secretary Lalnunmawia Chuaungo claimed that it did not encroach even an inch of Assam’s territory as alleged by Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma of the neighbouring state.
“Assam is laying claims on Mizoram’s territories, which the residents of border villages have been occupying for over 100 years. Satellite images will prove that what Assam claims to be its territories have been inhabited by the Mizos for over a century. There is no encroachment by Mizoram on Assam’s territory. It is the other way round,” Chuaungo said.
He alleged that Assam officials encroached on Mizoram’s territories under the supervision of the Assam Police and the state’s Forest Department during June-July despite the decision to maintain status quo in the disputed areas.
“The filing of lawsuit by the Assam government against Mizoram officials is just a gimmick to cover up their massive encroachment on Mizoram’s territories,” the chief secretary said.
While Mizoram accepts the 509 sq mile stretch of the inner-line reserve forest notified in 1875 under the Bengal Eastern Frontier Regulation of 1873 as its actual boundary, the Assam side agrees with the constitutional map drawn in 1933, a top official of the Mizoram Home Department had earlier said.
The 1933 map was an imposed boundary as Mizoram’s consent was not taken at the time of demarcation and the boundaries were not verified on the ground jointly by both the states, she had said.
On Monday, the Assam chief minister had told the state legislature that a total of 1,777.
58 hectares of land in the Barak Valley region was taken over by encroachers from Mizoram.
The Assam government had also filed a suit before a court in Cachar district on Thursday against certain officials of the Mizoram government over the alleged encroachment of its forest land and intentional destruction of forests across the state border.
Mizoram’s Kolasib district Deputy Commissioner H Lalthlangliana said they did not encroach on Assam’s territory but was protecting the land that they have been occupying since “time immemorial”.
Though the situation along the inter-state border is normal now, tension is palpable, he said.
Mizoram shares a 164.6-km-long border with Assam.
The recent border dispute flared up on June 29 when the two Northeastern states accused each other of encroachment at Aitlang hnar near Vairengte, which borders Assam’s Hailakandi district.
Tension escalated when Assam officials allegedly destroyed some plantations at Buarchep in the Phainuam area bordering Cachar district on July 10 during eviction, even as Assam accused Mizoram of encroaching more than 6 km into its territory.
The two states have deployed forces to prevent any further encroachment.