BORDER BATTLES
India Today|August 09, 2021
The violent clash at the disputed Lailapur-Vairengte border between Assam and Mizoram on July 26, which resulted in the death of six Assam Police personnel, is a grim reminder of the simmering tensions among the seven Indian states collectively known as India’s Northeast. While inter-state border disputes are not new in the region, what makes this incident unique is the clash between the police forces of the two states and the alleged use of light machine guns by the Mizoram Police to open fire on Assam Police personnel.
Kaushik Deka

As expected, a political slugfest began immediately, with the chief ministers of both states blaming the police forces of the other side for initiating the violence. While Union Home Minister Amit Shah called Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma and his Mizoram counterpart Zoramthanga to calm tensions, the social media spat between the heads of two state governments run by NDA members—the BJP in Assam and the MNF (Mizo National Front) in Mizoram—did not reflect well on the BJPled alliance. More so as Sarma is the convenor of the North East Democratic Alliance, an umbrella organisation of all non-Congress parties in the region, which includes the MNF.

Ironically, the clashes took place just two days after Shah’s visit to the Northeast, during which he had met the chief ministers of the region in Shillong and asked them to resolve all inter-state border disputes by 2022 when India will celebrate its 75th year of Independence. That now seems an impossible goal—with Assam now set to deploy 4,000 commandos to guard the border with Mizoram, it’s unlikely that a political solution will be found in the next one year.

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