Guwahati, July 26: Six Assam Police personnel died due to injuries sustained in alleged “firing by forces” at Lailapur in Cachar district near the Assam-Mizoram border in the wake of a major escalation along the inter-state boundary today. Several others, including civilians were hurt.
Assam chief minister Himanta Biswa Sarma confirmed the deaths of the six police personnel on his Twitter handle on this evening, stating, “I am deeply pained to inform that six brave jawans of Assam Police have sacrificed their lives while defending the constitutional boundary of our state at the Assam-Mizoram border.”
Tension escalated earlier in the day in an area between Lailapur (Cachar) and Vairengte (Kolasib), about 46 km from Silchar town when the forces, allegedly from Mizoram, opened fire, injuring Assam police personnel and civilians.
The injured were taken to the Dholai primary health centre and later shifted to Silchar Medical College and Hospital (SMCH).
The convoy of Cachar deputy commissioner, Keerthi Jalli, who visited the site of the incident, was also attacked.
The incident took place within 24 hours of the Union home minister’s meeting with the chief ministers of the Northeast in Shillong, where resolution of border issues between the states figured in the list of the issues discussed.
The incident has prompted Assam chief minister Himanta Biswa Sarma to call up Mizoram chief minister Zoramthanga, “reiterating that Assam will maintain status quo and peace between the borders.”
In a post on Twitter, Sarma also expressed “his willingness to visit Aizawl and discuss the issues if needed.”
Speaking to the media, the Assam chief minister informed that he had spoken to his Mizoram counterpart underlining the need for both states “to show restraint without encroaching on each other’s lands.”
Sarma informed that the fresh escalation started over a dispute over a police post which Mizoram claimed to be an old one and therefore needed repair. “However, our police claimed that the post was a newly built one,” he said, while claiming that any law and order violation within Assam would be investigated and dealt with sternly.
Referring to a video posted by Zoramthanga, the Assam chief minister urged his counterpart to investigate why “civilians from Mizoram were holding sticks and trying to incite violence.”
“We urge civilians not to take up law and order in their own hands and permit peaceful dialogue to take place between governments,” Sarma posted on Twitter, while drawing the attention of the Centre to the incident.
On the other hand, Mizoram chief minister Zoramthanga stated that “two companies of Assam Police with civilians lathi-charged and fired teargas at civilians at Vairengte autorickshaw stand inside Mizoram today.”