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Why is this particular topic important for defence aspirants?
If we go through the syllabus of NDA, CAPF, SSB Interview, etc., we will find the ‘Internal Security’ topic in the syllabus and if we go through the past few year papers of these defence exams, one will find border dispute related questions (especially internal border dispute), either in subjective form or in the interview process. So, any defence candidate must go through the internal border dispute thoroughly and we will provide you the sorted material.
A look back at the Assam-Mizoram border conflict's history and the recent events that led to the violence:
Why Assam-Mizoram border dispute recently in news?
- Recently, a group of over 200 Assam Police officers led by the IGP, Assam Police, as well as the DC, SP, and DFO of Cachar, went to the Vairengte autorickshaw stop. While Assam claims they went to "resolve things," Mizoram claims they "forced their way in" by breaching security barriers.
- “The team forcibly crossed a duty post manned by CRPF soldiers stationed there and overran a duty post manned by a part of Mizoram police personnel,” says the report. “Several vehicles traveling along the National Highway between Vairengte and Lailapur were also damaged by the Assam Police,” the Mizoram administration said in a statement.
- “In another infringement of existing agreements and the existing status quo, Mizoram began constructing a road towards Rengti Basti in Assam, destroying the Inner Line Reserve Forest in the Lailapur area,” said the Assam Home Minister. A team of Assam authorities, comprising an IGP, DIG, DC Cachar, SP Cachar, and DFO Cachar, went to the region this morning to beg the Mizoram side not to disturb the status quo.”
Where are we going with Assam-Mizoram border dispute?
- Both sides have now retracted their forces following the intervention of Union Home Minister Amit Shah, who conducted closed-door discussions with northeast CMs in Shillong recently to discuss inter-state disputes and other matters.
- Mizoram said in a statement that it wants "the inter-state boundary problem with Assam to be handled in a climate of peace and understanding." It also urged Assam to establish a "friendly environment" for a peaceful resolution of the conflict.
- Mizoram has been ordered by Assam to "restrain its people and police personnel from partaking in wanton violence, and work toward restoring peace." It claimed that the absence of casualties on the Mizoram side demonstrated Assam authorities' forbearance.
Assam-Mizoram border dispute: What is the demarcated boundary?
- Mizoram shares a border with Assam's Barak Valley, and both share a border with Bangladesh. The current 165-kilometer border between the two states has a history stretching back to when Mizoram was a district of Assam known as the Lushai Hills. The controversy revolves around boundary demarcations made in 1875 and 1933, particularly the latter.
- The Bengal Eastern Frontier Regulation (BEFR) Act, 1873, was the source of the 1875 demarcation, which was announced on August 20 of that year. It distinguished the Lushai Hills from the Cachar Plains in Assam's Barak Valley.
- Beginning at the tri-junction of Lushai Hills, Cachar district, and Manipur, the 1933 delineation indicates a boundary between Lushai Hills and Manipur. The Mizos refuse to acknowledge this boundary because their chiefs were not consulted this time.
Assam-Mizoram border dispute: When did the dispute grow so contentious?
- Since Mizoram became a Union Territory in 1972 and then a state in the 1980s, there has been a simmering conflict. The two countries agreed to keep the status quo in the no-land man's put up between their borders. While claimed violations have occurred often throughout the years, skirmishes have become increasingly common in recent months.
- While Assam considers its claimed border to have been crossed, Mizoram points to Assam's unilateral actions within Mizoram territory. It claims that Assam officials visited certain farms in Mamit district in June last year, that miscreants invaded Kolasib district and burned down two farmhouses, and that Assam officials visited the inter-state boundary between Vairengte (Mizoram) and Lailapur (Assam) and crossed the CRPF duty station.
- Mizoram asserts that building work has been done at Buarchep village in Mizoram by both Assam and Mizoram authorities and that the Home Ministry is aware of the situation. Assam police officials allegedly went to Saihapui ‘V' in Mizoram in October and threatened to obstruct the interstate route.
- Individuals blockaded the interstate highway as well as the National Highway connecting the two states later that month at Lailapur, Assam. Bombs exploded in Upper Phainuam Lower Primary School in Mizoram in November. Between the two countries, a peace meeting was arranged.
- Several houses and small shops have been set ablaze in recent months, and violent conflicts have erupted over topics as minor as betel nut farming claims, with plantings belonging to two Mizoram residents purportedly set ablaze. Villagers from Lailapur and Vairengte, as well as inhabitants from Karimganj (Assam) and Mamiut, have clashed (Mizoram).
What is the appropriate boundary according to Mizoram?
- The Inner Line of 1875 on the southern frontier of Cachar, notified under the BEFR Act, is the sole legitimate boundary, according to Mizo leaders. (This was later changed in 1878 in order to demarcate the Lushai Hills border from the Assam plains.)
- “The current so-called boundary was arbitrarily established in 1930 and 1933 without the consent and approval of the competent authorities and the people of the Lushai Hills, now Mizoram, thereby unreasonably excluding some of the Lushai inhabited areas such as Cachar Zion, Tlangnuam, Lala Bazar, and Banga Bazar,” wrote Mizoram political parties, NGOs, and a joint action committee on the border issue.
- This was done in conjunction with Mizo chiefs, and the Inner Line Reserve Forest designation was published two years later in the Gazette.
- The note adds, "It is nothing more than a fictitious line extended deeper and farther south of the Inner Line of 1875, depriving the Mizos of the gentle slopes and flat plains for the comfort of outside settlers (primarily Bangladeshees) imported by the British." In fact, they were talking to a time before Bangladesh was even formed.
What are the other regional border disputes?
Assam includes present-day Nagaland, Arunachal Pradesh, and Meghalaya, as well as Mizoram, which became distinct states one by one during British control. Assam is now having boundary issues with each of them.
Assam-Arunachal Pradesh border dispute:
- Both states share an 800-kilometer border.
- The State of Arunachal Pradesh Act, 1986 gave Arunachal Pradesh statehood in 1987.
- Conflicts first occurred in 1992, and there have been multiple charges of illegal encroachment on both sides, as well as sporadic clashes, since then.
- The Supreme Court is also hearing this boundary dispute.
Assam-Meghalaya border dispute:
- There are also flare-ups along the 884-kilometer border between the two states.
- In April 1970, Meghalaya was established as an autonomous state inside Assam, consisting of the United Khasi and Jaintia Hills districts, as well as the Garo Hills district. It was granted statehood in 1972.
- According to Meghalaya government declarations, there are now 12 areas of contention between the two states.
Assam-Nagaland border dispute:
- Assam shares a 500-kilometer border with Nagaland.
- It was constituted from the Naga Hills district of Assam and Arunachal Pradesh and became a state in December 1963. (then North-East Frontier Agency).
- Since 1965, violent skirmishes and armed conflicts on the Assam-Nagaland border have resulted in deaths.
- The Supreme Court is hearing the boundary issue.
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