The Assam and Mizoram border dispute has only escalated in the last few days, after an unprecedented gunfight earlier this week between police forces of the two states, with Assam about to approach the Supreme Court on Friday over the incident. While the border dispute has existed for decades, former vice-chancellor of Assam University, Tapodhir Bhattacharjyo, said in an interview with News18 that such a situation was unprecedented.
While Assam asked its people to not visit Mizoram, Mizoram chief minister Zoramthanga retaliated saying northeast India will always be one.
Bhattacharjyo, who has lived in Silchar for 70 years, also said that people were stunned by the events.
Here are edited excerpts from the interview:
You have been living here for so long have you seen this type of incident ?
See, I have grown up here. I have seen disturbance, but have never seen such a situation. People in Lyallpur and the other side, they are living in fear. Both the side are in fear for life and for livelihood. This is something which no one has seen, ever. We are stunned.
An FIR has been lodged against the chief minister and other police officials on the other hand Assam police has also served notice. What is your take on that?
This is irresponsible behaviour. Is this a fight between two countries? Both the states are under the same Constitution. Why are they behaving in such a manner? We have never heard and imagined something like this. Even there are disputes between two states on Cauvery water but that has never gone this way .
What do you think should be done now?
The Centre should act on immediately and I feel civil society of both the regions should come forward. The government will do their duty but state too has a huge role and it’s high time they should act. This problem is not new. Why can’t civil society talk on this?
Now it’s a sense of fear on both sides as there is escalation on both sides, but this is one country so immediately peace should be restored.