India

"Why Not Neutral Agency?": Himanta Sarma On Mizoram FIR Amid Border Row

Assam-Mizoram Border Dispute: Himanta Sarma is named in a case pertaning to Monday's violence.

Guwahati:

In an escalation following Monday's border gunfight between their two police forces that left six Assam policemen dead, Mizoram yesterday said it had filed a case over the incident, naming the Chief Minister and other top officials of the neighboruing state in it. Himanta Biswa Sarma, on his part, has asked why a neutral agency can't investigate the matter.

A first information report was filed under several sections of the Indian Penal Code, including "attempt to murder", at the Vairengte Police Station in Kolasib district of Mizoram, which borders Assam's Cachar.

The report said Assam police personnel, acting under instructions from Mr Sarma himself, refused to have an "amicable dialogue" with the Mizoram police on the day of the incident.

They "forcefully informed SP, Kolasib that the area falls within Assam territory and they intended to construct a camp as per the instruction of Chief Minister, Assam himself", the FIR said.

"They had arrived at the spot with tents and other materials for construction of camp which clearly showed their intention to forcibly occupy the Mizoram BOP by force, as their convoy of vehicles consist of Ambulances and around 20 vehicles," it said.  

Expressing his willingness to join the probe, Mr Sarma said: "But why the is case not being handed over to a neutral agency, especially when the place of occurrence is well within the constitutional territory of Assam?"

Among the policemen mentioned in the FIR are an Assam Inspector General, a Deputy Inspector General, a Superintendent of Police. The Cachar District Deputy Commissioner, too, has been included, besides some 200 unnamed police personnel.

They officers have been asked to appear at Vairengte Police Station on August 1.

The Mizoram Police issued notice for appearance to six Assam senior officials the same day Assam Police issued summons to Mizoram officials and another to the Rajya Sabha MP from Mizoram, K Vanlalvena in New Delhi in connection with the Monday clash between the two state police forces.

The two states have been at odds over the boundary for decades, but things flared up this week.

On Monday, violence broke out in the border area between these two districts, with each side accusing the other of causing the violence.

The clash flared up over an alleged construction by Mizoram in the disputed 198-square-mile stretch on the inter-state border -- Lailapur under Dhalai of Cachar district in southern Assam and Vairengte in Kolasib district of northern Mizoram.

An uneasy calm prevails over the violence-hit areas now, following appeals by Chief Ministers of both the states to Union Home Minister Amit Shah.

The Central Reserve Police Force has increased its deployment in these regions, with five companies (total of 500 troops) standing between the police forces of Assam and Mizoram.

Two more companies are on a standby.

An all-party delegation of Assam assembly is preparing to visit the border areas and the site of Monday's violence.