MHA Has Convened Chief Secretary Level Meet Between Assam & Mizoram To Defuse Inter-state Border Tension

The Centre has a convened a Chief Secretary-level meeting on March 20 to defuse tension along the Assam-Mizoram border as the Assam Government says it is politically motivated. Briefing media in New Delhi, Joint Secretary (Northeast) Satyendra Garg said The Union Home Secretary will chair the meeting between the Chief Secretaries of Assam and Mizoram in an attempt to resolve the tension brewing along the inter-state border. The Centre has taken the decision to convene the meet on receipt of a request made by Mizoram Chief Minister Lalthanhawla to Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh seeking government intervention in the issue. Meanwhile, Mizoram Chief Minister has been requested to maintain peace. The Joint Secretary replied in negative when asked whether the Centre had received any request from the Government of Assam for additional forces. But if such a request is made, then it would be considered, he said. Garg said tension flared up about two weeks back in the Assam-Mizoram border areas. Some people wanted to undertake some construction work that had to be stopped using force. The use of force was a consequence of assembly of people in the area. The Centre they have been told that the Government of Mizoram has convened an all-party meeting to discuss the issue. The Centre is apprehensive following reports of a Mizoram organisation calling for assembly of people in the border area on Wednesday, Garg added. Responding to a query on the inter-state border dispute between Assam and Nagaland, and Assam and Arunachal Pradesh, Garg said the expert committee’s report on border dispute has been submitted to the Supreme Court and a verdict is awaited. The Chief Secretaries of Assam and Meghalaya are talking to resolve the border dispute, he added. Meanwhile, talking to the media, Minister of State for Home Affairs Kiren Rijiju said that inter-state border clashes are very sad. “I have already asked all the Chief Ministers of the north-eastern states to have a coordinated mechanism.” The Home Ministry has already issued certain guidelines to the states, he said.“There are certain local issues which unfortunately becomes major issues. All incidents should not be termed inter-state disputes. Therefore, we should have some mechanism on the ground. The Joint Secretary (Northeast) is already in touch with the Chief Secretaries of the two states (Assam and Mizoram),” Rijiju said. Pleading for restraint on the ground, he said the Govt has asked all the NE states to resolve their boundary issues locally. And there should be political understanding on the ground, “otherwise some local incidents flare up into major incidents. Status quo should be maintained at the ground level,” he said.He also deplored manhandling of  a journalist by security forces during a protest in an Assam-Mizoram border area. The forces should maintain restraint… We will get a full report, we will see,” the minister added. But the Assam Government has denied the incident, he added.In Guwahati, The Assam government on Tuesday alleged that the turmoil created along the Assam-Mizoram border in Hailakandi district following attempts by a Mizo organization to set up a rest house in Assam territory was “politically motivated”. However, the situation is being closely monitored. Speaking on behalf of the Home Minister at the State Assembly ,Parliamentary Affairs Minister Chandra Mohan Patowary said the government is committed to  peace and brotherhood among the neighbouring states and at the same time it is committed to protect its territory.“There are elements who are trying to create tension along the border. But the government is alert to the safety and security of its people living along the border areas. The situation is being monitored closely.” The Minister made the statement replying to a Zero Hour notice brought on the issue by MLAs Suzam Uddin Laskar, Kamalakhya Dey Purkayastha and Opposition leader Debabrata Saikia.Laskar and Purkayastha claimed that following the incident, Assamese people living in Mizoram have been living in fear apprehending a repercussion and are not venturing out of their homes. They suggested holding of talks to hammer out a permanent solution to the border dispute and sending of an all-party delegation to the affected areas, reports The Assam Tribune. Patowary ruled out sending any all-party delegation insisting that it might further escalate the tension. “We are not sure how the Mizoram government will react if we send an all-party team. It might heighten the tension. Our priority is to secure our land and restore peace in the area,” he said. Patowary also informed about the meetings held between the administrations of Hailakandi and Mizoram’s Kolasib districts and the telephonic conversations between both the Chief Ministers and Chief Secretaries in a bid to restore normalcy.“Yesterday, a Mizoram delegation led by two MLAs also had a discussion with the officials of Assam at a border observation post. The Mizoram delegation assured Assam that efforts will be made to maintain status quo along the border. Mizoram MLAs however alleged that Assam was violating the agreement on status quo.(Image courtesy: press information bureau )

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