Assam-Mizoram Border Blockade Row on Verge of Resolution
A Google map showing Assam and Mizoram border.
The fortnight-long Assam-Mizoram border blockade issue seemed to be heading for resolution as operators of the over 250 goods vehicles stranded in Assam on Wednesday night agreed to drive on into Mizoram, officials said.
According to the officials, the agitators in Assam's border areas also agreed to withdraw their 15-day long blockade along the National Highway (NH) 306, the lifeline of Mizoram.
Deputy Inspector General of Police, Southern Assam, Dilip Kumar Dey said that the representatives of truckers' association who were not willing to ply their vehicles to the other side citing security reasons, have agreed to start ferrying of essentials following much persuasion by the civil and police administration of Cachar district.
Terming this as a positive development, he said that following the movement of trucks with essentials from Assam, the Mizoram government has given assurance of withdrawing their force from Assam's territory soon.
"Several trucks with essentials and petroleum products have started moving to Kolasib (northern Mizoram) from Lailapur (southern Assam) this evening," an Assam government release said.
Earlier, to ensure the movement of stranded trucks with essentials, a meeting was held between representatives of truck drivers' association and the district administrations of Cachar and Kolasib at Lailapur along the inter-state border on Wednesday.
"Kolasib DC has urged the truckers' association to start the movement of trucks laden with essential commodities to Mizoram so that the people of Mizoram do not face hardship due to shortage of essential items. He further assured of safety and security to all the vehicles and that no truck drivers and helpers would be subjected to any kind of harassment. He also proposed to provide security escort for the trucks and other vehicles entering Mizoram," the release said.
The blockade of the NH 306 was on since October 28 as the protesters refused to relent until the Mizoram government withdrew their security personnel forces from Assam's Cachar and Karimganj and provided security to the truckers.
Union Home Secretary Ajay Kumar Bhalla held three meetings through video conferencing with Assam and Mizoram Chief Secretaries Jishnu Barua and Lalnunmawia Chuaungo, respectively to discuss restoration of normalcy in the border area and Central para-military forces were also deployed.
The tension along the two states intensified after a bomb blast at an Assam government school last week and the alleged abduction of 48-year-old Intyaz Ali from Lailapur and his subsequent death in the Mizoram government's custody on November 2 prompted the local residents to agitate.
Lingering since October 9, the tense situation along the 164.6-km Assam-Mizoram border took an ugly turn when around 20 shops and houses were burnt and over 50 people sustained injuries in attacks and counter-attacks by people on either side on October 17.
Though the situation normalised after a series of meetings and the Central government's intervention, the border trouble resurfaced after a fortnight on October 28.