There appears to be a hint of thaw in the relations between Assam and Mizoram after the border conflict escalation and the subsequent gunfight led to the death of 7 police officers and several injured officers last week. Reportedly, Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma has ordered the withdrawal of FIR against Mizoram MP K. Vanlalvena after Mizoram CM Zoramthanga extended the olive branch.
Sarma took cognizance of Zoramthanga’s remarks and stated, “I have noted statements in media by Hon’ble CM Zoramthanga wherein he has expressed his desire to settle the border dispute amicably. Assam always wants to keep the spirit of North East alive. We are also committed to ensuring peace along our borders…To take this goodwill gesture ahead, I have directed Assam Police to withdraw FIR against K. Vanlalvena, Hon’ble MP, Rajya Sabha from Mizoram. However, cases against other accused police officers will be pursued,”
The decision also comes in the backdrop of Union Home Minister Amit Shah calling both parties and asking them to reach an amicable solution to the conflict. Fresh negotiation has begun between the two governments to de-escalate the situation as Zoramthanga took to Twitter to give a brief of the telephonic conversation.
“As per telephonic discussion with Union Home Minister and Assam Chief Minister, we agreed to resolve the Mizoram-Assam border issue amicably through meaningful dialogue,” the Mizoram Chief Minister said on Twitter.
— Zoramthanga (@ZoramthangaCM) August 1, 2021
While it is indeed laudable that common sense has prevailed and the flared tempers have toned down, it is also important that both state governments reach the end of the investigation. The gunfight and the events leading up to it need to be closely examined. After all, several videos in the aftermath of the incident circulated on the realms of social media platforms showed people in civilian dresses wielding the heavy-automatic rifles and later bursting into celebratory dance moves after killing fellow countrymen.
Sarma has already insinuated that the non-state actors could have played a part in orchestrating the gunfight. “The drugs route originates in Myanmar and travels through Mizoram and Assam’s Barak Valley all the way to Punjab,” he said, urging his Mizoram counterpart 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”.
There is no denying the fact that Sarma is the tallest leader in the Northeast. Through the CAA protests and countless skirmishes by the opposition, he has stood his ground firmly. The political opponents and the insurgents across the two states fear that with Sarma at the helm of affairs, the border problem could be solved.
And if such a major roadblock, plaguing both states since a century can be resolved, the business of miscreants and insurgents will come to a screeching halt, much alike the separatists of Kashmir, who have been left running around for funds, ever since the abrogation of Article 370.
The long-standing border dispute finds its root in the colonial past and to this date continues to haunt the integrity of the country in the Northeast region. However, subsequent governments failed to find any solution to the problem and instead preferred to look the other way. The two governments need to repose the faith in each other and try to work together to nab the perpetrators that flamed the anarchic events on the border.