Fresh tension was reported along the Assam-Mizoram border as the two states accused each other of constructing roads, security camps, and bunkers and urged all such activity to be stopped and new structures dismantled.
Kolasib (Mizoram) Deputy Commissioner H. Lalthlangliana, in a letter to his Hailakandi (Assam) counterpart Rohan Jha, alleged that Assam Police personnel had, at gunpoint, kidnapped JCB operator Lalngaisanga on Thursday while he was constructing a private road on the request of the 'Jhum' farmers (shifting cultivators).
"The Assam Police went to disrupt their activity, damaged the door of the excavator, and snatched the keys from the JCB operator, who was blindfolded and kidnapped. He was then dragged by the river, his clothes ripped off, and life threatened. His mobile phone along with JCB keys was taken by the Assam Police," the Kolasib DC said in his letter.
Terming it "a very serious issue" and a "huge setback" towards the initiatives for peace until now, he said that it can further aggravate the situation.
Meanwhile, Jha, in his letter to his Kolasib counterpart, sought the dismantling of two camps and a bunker, set up by the Mizoram Police on August 26 in reserve forest at Kachurthal-Balicherra area along the border.
"... but there was no action taken from your end to de-escalate the issue. A new camp and a road were being built by Mizoram Police at the same Kachurthal-Balicherra area within the constitutional boundary of Assam. Such instances of construction and force deployment are in clear violation of the joint statement issued by both the governments on August 5 and are very detrimental in the peace keeping efforts along the inter-state border," he wrote.
Dismissing the claims of his Mizoram counterpart, Jha said that Assam forest staff, along with the Assam Police, went to the Kachurthal-Balicherra area on Thursday and noticed that a road was being constructed inside the constitutional boundary of Assam and instructed the JCB driver to stop the construction and immediately return to Mizoram.
Police told the Mizoram resident that he has trespassed into Assam land and will be arrested if the construction is not stopped. "The JCB driver immediately stopped the construction and on fear of arrest, went back to Kolasib district," Jha said.
He said that it is imperative that the 'Jhum' farmers residing along the inter-state border areas in Kolasib district should be counselled and instructed, not to start any new construction within the constitutional boundary of Assam.
After several incidents and tension for several months over the border dispute, six Assam Police personnel and a civilian were killed and around 60 people were injured in firing and clashes between the police and civilians of the two states on July 26.
The two northeastern states share a 164.6-km border between Assam's Cachar, Hailakandi and Karimganj districts, and Mizoram's Kolasib, Mamit and Aizawl districts. Both states have officially had different interpretations of their territorial boundary lines. While Mizoram claimed that its border lies along the borderline drawn up in 1875 to protect the indigenous people from outside influence, Assam goes by a district demarcation done in 1933.