Aizawl, Aug 5: The Mizoram and Assam governments on Thursday agreed to find a lasting solution to the century-old boundary dispute and take measures, including resuming inter-state vehicular movement and keeping respective police forces off the conflict areas, to de-escalate tension.
Representatives of the two states held a meeting here to bring back normalcy along the inter-state border, where an uneasy calm prevails after six Assam Police personnel and one civilian were killed and 50 others were injured in a boundary clash on July 26. After the meeting, Assam's Border Area Development Minister Atul Bora, who headed the state's delegation, told reporters that both sides have agreed to maintain peace along the boundary.
He said that the Assam government will revoke its advisory issued earlier against travel to Mizoram, and take steps to resume movement of vehicles between the two neighbouring states. The supply of essential commodities to Mizoram has been severely hit after several groups staged an "economic blockade" on NH 306 in Assam's Barak Valley, though the Assam government claimed that no such blockade is in force at present.
"Both the states have welcomed the deployment of neutral forces in the disputed areas and agreed not to send their respective police forces for patrolling, domination, enforcement or fresh deployment to any of the areas where confrontation and conflict have taken place between police forces of the two states in recent times," a joint statement issued by the two states said.
The joint statement was signed by Bora, his department's Commissioner and Secretary G D Tripathi, and Mizoram's Home Minister Lalchamliana and Home Secretary Vanlalngathsaka.
"Representatives of Governments of Assam and Mizoram agree to take all necessary measures to promote, preserve and maintain peace and harmony amongst people living in Assam and Mizoram, particularly in border areas," the statement said.
Both the states also condoled the deaths of those killed in the incident and prayed for the speedy recovery of the injured persons.
"Govt. of Assam & Govt. of Mizoram successfully signed a Joint Statement today after deliberations at Aizawl. Both governments agree to take forward Ministry of Home Affairs' initiatives to remove prevailing tensions and to find lasting solutions through discussions," the Mizoram CMO tweeted.
Assam minister Ashok Singhal said in a Twitter post, "With great optimism from both sides, we held our discussion with the Home Minister of Mizoram @Lalchamliana12 Ji & other officials on resolving the #AssamMizoramBorder issue. This is in continuation of the discussion initiated by HCM @himantabiswa Ji & HCM @ZoramthangaCM Ji."
Both states have differing interpretations of their territorial border. While Mizoram believes that its border lies along an 'inner line' drawn up in 1875 to protect tribals from outside influence, Assam goes by a district demarcation done in the 1930s.