Silchar: Assam will abide by any law enacted by Parliament which makes it even cede its land to another state. However, till then Assam will not allow even an ‘inch to be encroached’, Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma asserted Tuesday. His announcement came amid border tensions with Mizoram. Due to the escalating tension six Assamese people, including five police personnel and a civilian, were killed. Also more than persons were in border clashes with Mizoram.
Sarma also said Assam will move the Supreme Court seeking protection of Innerline Forest Reserve from destruction and encroachment. He added that the government will deploy three commando battalions in Cachar, Karimganj and Hailakandi districts bordering Mizoram to strengthen security.
“It is the responsibility of the Centre to define the boundary and we will abide by it. If tomorrow the Parliament enacts a law by which our land can be given to another state, we will do so. However, till then we will protect our constitutional boundary,” Sarma told a press conference here after paying floral tributes to the slain personnel. He also visited the Silchar Medical College and Hospital and met police personnel injured in the attack. The Assam government has declared a three-day state mourning following the incident.
Assam, he said, will behave responsibly under all circumstances, and even under provocation, will not fire back at civilians. “We hope that the Mizos regret that they have fired at fellow countrymen. However, we are leaving it to their wisdom and conscience. This is a dispute between two states and not a fight between countries. But the video evidence that we have of the Mizo forces celebrating after attacking our people have saddened and hurt us,” stated Sarma.
The chief minister said that satellite images have shown that roads are being constructed and forests cleared for jhum cultivation. However, Sarma asserted that it will not be allowed. “We will move the Supreme Court to ensure that the forests are protected,” he said.
“The dispute is not regarding land but encroachment of reserved forests is the issue. We have no settlements in the forest areas and, if Mizoram can give evidence, we will immediately carry out eviction,” Sarma added.
The chief minister asserted that not an inch of Assam’s land could be encroached by the neighbouring state. “People have sacrificed their lives but the boundary has been protected. We will continue to do that at any cost. There is very strong deployment of police inside our border and not an inch of land will be allowed to be encroached,” he asserted.
Sarma said after he took office in May, he had spoken to Mizoram Chief Minister Zoramthanga. He had suggested that both the states should maintain status quo. The Mizoram CM had agreed but insisted that chief secretary-level talks should continue, he said.
Sarma informed as the firing was on he spoke to Zoramthanga six times. “I asked him to control the situation but he just said he was sorry. I even told him that I was ready to go to Aizawl to ensure that the status quo is maintained but he simply kept apologising,” Sarma said.
Union Home Minister Amit Shah spoke to two chief ministers three times Monday, Sarma said. The Assam chief minister said Shah called him up even Tuesday to inquire about the situation at the inter-state border.