Five police personnel, one civilian killed in clashes between Assam and Mizoram

Reuters GUWAHATI | Updated on July 27, 2021

Tensions on the border have been escalated since last month when Assam’s police allegedly took control of Lailapur, accusing Mizoram of encroaching on the territory

At least six people, including five police officers, were killed and more than 60 hurt on Monday in clashes between Mizoram and Asaam , as a weeks-long territorial dispute in the country's Northeast turned deadly.

Tensions on the border between Assam and Mizoram have been elevated since last month, when Assam’s police allegedly took control of the hilly area of Lailapur, accusing Mizoram of encroaching on the territory.

The violence highlights the long-standing inter-State boundary issues in the region, particularly between Assam and neighbouring States. “We have lost six of our policemen and a civilian along the Assam-Mizoram border when miscreants from Mizoram opened gunfire,” Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma told Reuters.

Passing the buck

In response, Mizoram’s Home Minister, Lalchamliana, said in a statement that Monday's violence began when Assam police encroached on its territory, calling the casualties on both sides “regrettable”.

The two State heads, Assam's Sarma and Mizoram's Zoramthanga have each blamed the other side for the violence, appealing on Twitter for India's Home Minister Amit Shah to intervene.

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Both shared videos of clashes on a thin strip of road running through hills where armed police and civilians can be seen fighting with wooden batons.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Bharatiya Janata Party is in power in Assam, while the Mizo National Front (MNF), a constituent of the BJP-led North East Democratic Alliance (NEDA), is ruling in Mizoram.

The violence took place two days after Shah met Chief Ministers of the country's seven Northeastern States. According to local media, Shah spoke to Sarma and Zoramthanga and asked them to resolve the border issue.

Published on July 27, 2021

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