Guwahati, July 12: People of neighbouring Mizoram have encroached on nearly 1,800 hectares of Assam land spread across three districts, Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said in the assembly on Monday.
The Chief Minister's statement came in the backdrop of tension between the two Northeastern states following alleged encroachment of land in Cachar district by the people of Mizoram. In a written reply to a query by All India United Democratic Front (AIUDF) MLA Suzam Uddin Laskar, Sarma said that a total of 1,777.58 hectares of land in Barak Valley region has been taken over by encroachers from Mizoram. Out of this, the largest area of 1,000 hectares have been encroached in Hailakandi district, followed by 400 hectares in Cachar and 377.58 hectares in Karimganj, he added.
Sarma, who also holds the Home portfolio, said that various preventive measures like patrolling and area domination have been taken by the Assam Police in order to free the encroached land and protect the people living on the Assam side.
"Altogether nine Border Out Posts (BOP) have been established in Hailakandi, Karimganj and Cachar districts sharing border along Assam-Mizoram. Out of the nine BOPs, six are in Hailakandi, two are in Karimganj and one is in Cachar," he added. In Karimganj, two temporary camps have been set up at Choto Bhubirbond under Ratabari police station and Medhlicherra under Bazaricherra police station to counter any attempted encroachment of land belonging to Assam. Besides, two permanent CRPF camps have been set up at Khulicherra and Lailapur under Dholai police station in Cachar, the chief minister said.
"The district administration of Cachar, Karimganj and Hailakandi are maintaining regular liaison and contact with their counterpart districts, mainly Kolasib and Mamit," Sarma said. He further said that several meetings at different levels between the two state governments have been held to ensure sanctity of the Constitutional boundary. "Lately, on 09/07/2021, a chief secretary level meeting was held between the State of Assam and Mizoram in New Delhi at the behest of Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India. All lawful steps are being taken to prevent encroachment in the Assam-Mizoram inter-state border," Sarma said.
Mizoram shares about 164.6 km long border with Assam. The hill state was part of Assam until 1972 when it was carved out as a Union Territory. It became the 23rd state of India on 20 February 1987 following the historic Mizoram Accord between the erstwhile underground Mizo National Front (MNF) and the Centre, ending 20 years of insurgency in the state. In a separate reply to a query by the Leader of the Opposition Debabrata Saikia, Sarma said that a total of 209 instances of encroachment of Assam land have taken place since 2016 when the BJP came to power in the state for the first time.
These encroachments were carried out by people from Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland, Mizoram and Meghalaya, he added. The Assam government has registered 127 cases and arrested three persons for encroachment, the Chief Minister said.