Following the violent clashes between the police forces of Assam and Mizoram, Assam’s chief minister Himanta Biswa Sarma, on Tuesday, blamed “non-state actors” in Mizoram behind the violence, which resulted in the loss of lives of six Assam Police personnel.
Fifty policemen were also injured in the clashes, which took place on Monday, including the SP of Assam’s Cachar district, Nimbalkar Vaibhav Chandrakant, who sustained a bullet injury in the leg. The incident also witnessed a Twitter spat between the chief ministers of both states.
Now, CM Himanta has suggested that the new cattle law in the state and the crackdown on narcotics smuggling by the BJP-led government of Assam could have triggered “non-state actors” in Mizoram to incite violence against the Assam Police personnel.
Himanta further explained the possibility of a series of reasons which might have triggered the heated border dispute, how some people who entered India from Myanmar wanted to settle in Assam’s Dima Hasao district via Mizoram, but his government restricted their attempts. The tabling of the Assam Cattle Protection Bill in the state assembly also created apprehension. Mizoram is a Christian majority state where beef remains the second most consumed meat after pork. Cattle are imported from neighbouring states such as Meghalaya and Assam and also from Myanmar, with which the state shares more than 400 kms of un-fenced border. Sarma said there were rumours that Assam government is targeting beef supply to the rest of the region. Assam’s new cattle law has raised concerns in the states of Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Tripura and Arunachal Pradesh as beef is widely consumed in those states.
Sarma pointed out that Assam government’s crackdown on drug smuggling could be another reason which angered the non-state actors in Mizoram.
“The drugs route originates in Myanmar and travels through Mizoram and Assam’s Barak Valley all the way to Punjab,” he said, urging Mizoram CM Zoramthanga to probe “how could civilians in battle fatigues and bulletproof vests, turn up at the border to attack our policemen with sniper rifles. I have video evidence. I think it should be investigated whether certain vested non-state actors entered the fray.”
Another reason which might have triggered and provoked a section of people, according to Himanta, was that he told the Mizoram government that Assam cannot allow these people from Myanmar to settle in Dima Hasao district without the Centre’s explicit approval.
The root cause of the series of occurring events or clashes could be traced back to the British era where it all began when Mizoram used to be a district of Assam.
Essentially, the Northeast comprised the states of Assam, Manipur and Tripura, with the states of Meghalaya, Nagaland and Mizoram, all being carved out of Greater Assam during the later years. While even after decades of ruling the Northeast, Congress had not done much for the development of the northeast or attempted to understand the complex demography and problems of the people, while the BJP is doing its best to tackle the same. While it could be very much possible that the recent clashes are a result of these “non-state” actors. The union government must intervene and solve the issue by collaborating with both the neighbouring states.