Hailakandi/Aizawl, Jul 15 (PTI) Tension gripped the Assam-Mizoram border village of Gutguti following the construction of a temporary shed of police camp by the Mizoram police personnel, the Assam officials said.
Mizoram,however, claimed that the land where the police camp shed was built belonged to it and said their forces are ready to strike at any time if the Assam side make any further encroachment on its territory.
A team of police and forest officials from Katlicherra circle of Assam's Hailakandi district rushed to the shed area but reportedly failed to reach the spot due to poor road conditions.
The fresh construction of a structure by Mizoram police after July 10 chief secretary level meeting has created much resentment among the residents, Assam police said.
The tension on Assam-Mizoram border is now a matter of serious concern for the administrations of three districts of Barak valley.
One of the residents of bordering Gutguti village mainly dominated by Reang community informed that they are passing sleepless nights due to the constant threat and encroachments of Assam land by the neighbour.
It is reported that at least 200-250 police battalions of Mizoram police are engaged in the construction of shed for the camp around three kilometres inside the Assam land.
The officer-in-charge of Assam's Ramnathpur police station, Liton Nath, Forest Range Officer of Gharmurra, P Kalita and a team of police officials are camping in the area.
Katlicherra's AIUDF MLA Suzam Uddin Laskar expressed serious concern over the incident and said that he will raise the issue in next session of the state assembly.
He asked the Assam government to ensure the secuirity of life and property of the residents of his constituency.
Meanwhile, a senior police officer of mizoram said that both states have beefed-up security on the border areas to prevent encroachment from either sides.
Mizoram Deputy Inspector General of Police (Northern Range) Lalbiakthanga Khiangte told PTI that the situation is very volatile as both forces can engage in arm conflict any time if one party try to encroach on the other.
'Our forces are ready to strike (open fire) at any time if Assam side make any further encroachment on Mizoram's territory,' Khiangte,currently camping at Vairengte, said.
He denounced the allegation that the Mizos encroached 6 km inside Assam.
'It is Assam, which encroached on the Mizoram territory at Phainuam's Buarchep village near Vairengte by constructing a road.The land has been occupied by Mizos for decades,'he said.
The senior police officer also denied that grenades were hurled towards Assam police by people from Mizoram.
'There was no any blast from our side. But, we heard some sounds of explosion from Assam side for which we have registered a case as it is believed to be an intimidation to panic the people residing in border villages,' he said.
Reacting to the allegation of hurling grenade to Assam, Khiangte said 'It was baseless and just fabricated to gain sympathy from others.' Earlier, state chief secretary Lalnunmawia Chuaungo had informed the union home ministry that the allegations made by Assam that miscreants from Mizoram encroached Assam territory were completely false.
In a letter sent to additional secretary (NE), Ministry of Home Affairs recently, Chuaungo had said that a few farmers of Buarchep village in Mizoram's Kolasib district were pushed and harassed and their crops destroyed and new road constructed with excavators by Assam police and officials backed by civilians.
The Mizo farmers put up small barricades to protect their lands and crops, which were pulled down and destroyed by Assam officials, he alleged.
On July 12, Mizoram home minister Lalchamliana had demanded compensation from Assam goverment for the damages it had caused to the Mizo farmers.
Though Mizoram was reluctant to be the first to initiate activity, but it will take any measure to protect its territory at any cost, the state home minister had said.
Meanwhile, a top home department official told PTI that Assam can't charge encroachment allegation on Mizoram as both the state have different opinion on inter-state boundaries.
While Mizoram accepted the 509 square- mile stretch of the inne-line reserve forest notified in 1875 under the Bengal Eastern Frontier Regulation of 1873 as its actual boundary the Assam side agreed with the constitutional map drawn in 1933, the official said.
She said that the 1933 map was an imposed boundary as Mizoram wad not consulted and the boundary was not verified by both the states on the ground at the time of drawing the map.
She said that as per the tripartite talks held under the Union Home Ministry after a flare-up in 2018, both parties agreed to maintain status quo on the disputed areas.
However, Assam has always violated the status quo and erected structures or made activities along the inter-state border, which escalated tension between the two neighbouring states, she said.
'If Assam accuses us of encroaching on its land, we can also accuse it of encroaching on our land as vast tract of inner line reserve forest are occupied by Assam,' the official told PTI on condition of anonymity.
She also said the area claimed by Assam have been occupied by the Mizos for more than a century.
Mizoram shares about 164.4 km long border with Assam. PTI DG CORR SNS SNS