Assam, Mizoram to withdraw forces; CRPF to guard stretch

pic credits: PTI

Assam and Mizoram, which clashed over a border dispute on July 26, will call their police forces back and central paramilitary troops will be deployed in the four-km disputed stretch between Vairangte on the Mizoram side and Lailapur in south Assam. This area will function as a sort of no man’s land, till a permanent solution is found, according to an interim agreement reached by both states during talks held in Delhi.

This was decided at a meeting called by Union home secretary Ajay Bhalla on Wednesday to mediate between the sparring states, people familiar with the development said.

The police forces of the two states confronted each other in southern Assam on July 26, in which six Assam policemen and a civilian died. Assam claimed Mizoram police opened fire on Assam’s forces who objected to a road being constructed by Mizoram on a patch of forested land claimed by Assam.

 Assam chief secretary Jishnu Baruah and director-general of police Bhaskar Jyoti Mahanta and their Mizoram counterparts Lalnunmawia Chuaungo and SBK Singh, apart from the director-general of Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF), Kuldiep Singh were present at Wednesday’s meeting.

MHA officials said they would continue to facilitate talks and monitor the ground situation.

The CRPF already has five companies (around 500 personnel) deployed there while two more companies are on standby. This will be a rare instance where it functions as a border force; it will also be a rare instance where a patch of no man’s land has been created, albeit temporarily, within the country.