Context: Recently, residents of Assam and Mizoram have clashed twice over territory. It spotlights the long-standing inter-state boundary issues in the Northeast, particularly between Assam and the states that were carved out of it.

More on news:

  • The two states have deployed security personnel, in the violence-hit areas near the Vairengte village in Mizoram and Assam's Lailapur.
  • Vairengte in Kolasib district is on the northern fringe of Mizoram through which the National Highway 306 (formerly 54) passes, linking the state to Assam. 
  • The nearest village in Assam is Lailapur, which is in the Cachar district.

The recent dispute

  • Mizoram shares a 164.6-km border with Assam.Much of the boundary is contested. 
    • Several dialogues held since 1995 to resolve the border dispute have yielded little results.
  • In the recent incident the land claimed by Assam is being cultivated for a long time by residents of Mizoram. 
  • Assam’s viewpoint
    • On paper the land fell within the Singla Forest Reserve that is under Karimganj’s jurisdiction of the Assam government. 
  • Mizoram’s viewpoint:
    • Mizoram claims this stretch of the inner-line reserve forest which was notified in 1875.
    • Mizoram blamed illegal migrants from Bangladesh, on the Assam side. 

According to an agreement between the governments of Assam and Mizoram, status quo should be maintained in no man’s land in the border area. 

Assam-Mizoram boundary dispute:

  • The boundary between present-day Assam and Mizoram, 165 km long today, dates back to the colonial era, when Mizoram was known as Lushai Hills, a district of Assam.
  • Mizoram was part of Assam till 1972.
    • In 1972, it became a separate Union Territory. 
    • In 1987, it became a full-fledged state. 
    • The three South Assam districts of Cachar, Hailakandi and Karimganj share a 164.6 kilometre-long border with Mizoram’s Kolasib, Mamit and Aizawl districts.
    • Mizoram borders Assam’s Barak Valley. Both the states border Bangladesh. 
  • Two notifications:
    • The dispute stems from a notification of 1875 that differentiated Lushai Hills from the plains of Cachar, and 
      • Notification of 1933 that demarcates a boundary between Lushai Hills and Manipur.
    • Mizoram believes the boundary should be demarcated on the basis of the 1875 notification, which is derived from the Bengal Eastern Frontier Regulation (BEFR) Act, 1873. 
    • Mizo leaders have argued against the demarcation notified in 1933 because Mizo society was not consulted. 
    • The Assam government followed the 1933 demarcation, and that was the point of conflict.

Image source: Indian express