File image: Union Home Minister Amit Shah (PTI)
The Assam-Mizoram border flared up again with at least six Assam Police personnel losing their lives during clashes on July 26. Over 60 people were injured, including an SP, as the festering border dispute between the two northeastern states erupted into a bloody conflict.
Taking cognisance of the situation, Union Home Minister Amit Shah spoke to the chief ministers of Assam Himanta Biswa Sarma and Mizoram's Zoramthanga and urged them to ensure peace along the disputed border and find an amicable settlement.
After allegations of encroachment of territory by both sides over the past few weeks and skirmishes that escalated tensions between the two states, violent clashes were reported along the inter-state border that ended in the death of at least six Assam policemen.
The incidents came two days after Amit Shah held talks with the chief ministers of eight northeastern states and underscored the need to resolve lingering border disputes.
Assam's Barak Valley districts of Cachar, Karimganj and Hailakandi share a 164 km long border with Mizoram's three districts of Aizawl, Kolasib and Mamit. Following a territorial dispute, there were clashes along the inter-state border in August 2020 and February this year.
"I am deeply pained to inform that six brave jawans of @assampolice have sacrificed their lives while defending constitutional boundary of our state at the Assam-Mizoram border. My heartfelt condolences to the bereaved families," Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma tweeted.
Meanwhile, Mizoram Home Minister Lalchamliana, in a statement, claimed Mizoram Police responded "spontaneously by firing back" at Assam Police after its 200 personnel forcibly crossed a duty post manned by the CRPF personnel and indulged in arson, assault on unarmed persons and firing.
Though Sarma initially did not blame Mizoram police for the killing of the six policemen, he later tweeted, "Clear evidences are now beginning to emerge that unfortunately show that Mizoram Police has used Light Machine Guns (LMG) against personnel of @assampolice. This is sad, unfortunate and speaks volumes about the intention and gravity of the situation."
A senior Assam Police officer told PTI that at least 50 personnel, including Cachar Superintendent of Police Vaibhav Chandrakant Nimbalkar, were injured in firing and stone-pelting.
Meanwhile, Silchar Medical College and Hospital (SMCH) Principal Babul Bezbarua told PTI that at least 50 police personnel were admitted with bullet injuries.
"There is a constant flow of injured personnel. As we are talking, another vehicle with a few more injured persons have entered the hospital. All of them have bullet or pellet injuries. We have called in all doctors and formed different teams to treat the injured," he said.
Around 10 more people, mostly policemen, were admitted to a hospital in nearby Dholai, officials said.(With inputs from PTI)