GUWAHATI: Six days after the flare-up on the Assam-Mizoram border which saw six Assam Police personnel being killed in firing by Mizoram police, chief ministers of the two states buried hostility on Sunday — which happened to be the International Friendship Day — following Union home minister Amit Shah’s intervention and agreed to sit down for talks to resolve the border dispute once and for all.
Shah had telephonic conversations with Assam chief minister Himanta Biswa Sarma and his Mizoram counterpart, Zoramthanga, separately. Subsequently, Zoramthanga, who is in quarantine after contracting Covid, called up Sarma before the two CMs went public on their peace moves.
In another clear indication that hostilities are subsiding, the Mizoram chief secretary said the FIR against Sarma filed at Vairengte police station, which accused him of attempt to murder and criminal conspiracy, would be withdrawn as “Zoramthanga did not really approve of it”.
Focus is on keeping NE spirit alive’
Stressing the need for resolving the border dispute, Sarma said: “If the Centre takes an initiative, we have no problem talking. The Assam government is ready to talk to the Mizoram government at any point of time and at any place, be it Guwahati, Aizwal or New Delhi. If the Mizoram CM wants us for discussion, we are always available.”
“We do not like these frequent border skirmishes. We have come for development and these border tensions are a big deterrent,” he said, while emphasising on a final decision on boundary demarcation. The interstate border demarcation is a central subject and both Assam and Mizoram are now looking up to New Delhi to find a permanent solution, which has been pending before Mizoram was carved out of Assam.
Sarma’s statements came soon after Zoramthanga announced on Twitter: “As per telephonic discussion with the Union home minister and Assam CM, we agreed to resolve the Mizoram-Assam border issue amicably through meaningful dialogue.”
“In the meantime, in order to prevent any possible escalation of the situation, I request the people of Mizoram to avoid posting sensitive messages and make judicious use of their social media platform,” the Mizoram CM added. Hours later, Sarma reciprocated by tweeting: “Our main focus is on keeping the spirit of North-East alive. What happened along Assam-Mizoram border is unacceptable to people of both states. Mizoram CM had promised to call me post his quarantine. Border disputes can only be resolved through discussion.”
At the same time, Sarma asserted that the incident of July 26 when six Assam policemen were killed in firing from the Mizoram side needs to be investigated. “We don’t want to file an FIR against anybody. But if somebody dies then there is a case which needs to be investigated. I have proposed that this case be investigated by a neutral central agency like the NIA and not by either Assam or Mizoram.”
Earlier, Sarma invited Mizoram police to arrest him if it helped resolve the boundary dispute between the two states. However, Mizoram chief secretary Lalnunmawia Chuango said that the FIR will be withdrawn. “In fact, our CM did not really approve of mentioning the name of the Assam CM in the FIR,” Chuango said.