5 Cops Killed, 60 Civilians Injured in Firing between Assam, Mizoram Police

Reported by

Sarup Sinha

Legal Data by

Anmol Gupta, Mukta Joshi

Edited by

Moushumi Sharma

Updated by

Published on

March 24, 2022

March 24, 2022

Updated on

March 24, 2022

Location of Conflict

Lailapur

Vairengte, Mizoram

Cachar

Reason or Cause of Conflict

Border Dispute

(

)

People Affected by Conflict

65

Households Affected by Conflict

14

Land Area Affected (in Hectares)

ha

Starting Year

2020

State

Assam

Sector

Land Use

On July 26, 2021, the border dispute between Assam and Mizoram took a violent turn when Assam and Mizoram police forces exchanged fire, killing five Assam cops and injuring 60 people from Assam. The firing took place near Lailapur, a town in Cachar district bordering Mizoram. The situation in Lailapur had been tense since October 2020 when a violent clash broke out between people from both the states. A day before the firing incident, eight (unoccupied) farm huts of Mizo farmers were allegedly torched by unidentified people in Vairengte, a border village in Mizoram. In addition, several incidents of encroachment, eviction drives and ransacking of huts along the border have been reported.

According to media reports, what triggered the firing was an alleged attempt by about 200 Assam Police personnel led by senior officials to shut down a duty post near the Vairengte autorickshaw stand bordering Assam. Both the states have presented a different account of the exact trigger of the incident. While Mizoram officials allege that the Assam Police forcibly overran security posts, damaged vehicles and initiated the aggression that prompted the Mizoram police to retaliate, Assam officials insist that the police had gone over to investigate the extent of encroachment and found that Mizoram had disturbed the status quo by squatting in areas about one to three kilometres from the interstate border. Mizoram, in turn, has alleged that Assam has pushed its people, including ‘illegal Bangladeshis’, 10-12 kilometres inside Mizoram’s territory.

Both the states have been making disputed territorial claims since 1972 when Mizoram was separated from Assam as a Union Territory. Mizoram later attained statehood in 1987. At the root of the border disagreement lie two colonial-era notifications. Mizoram considers real the boundary mentioned in the Bengal Eastern Frontier Regulation Act, 1873, which delineated the border between Lushai Hills (present-day Mizoram) and the plains of Cachar district in Assam. In contrast, Assam recognises the 1933 gazetted demarcation as the actual boundary. 

Following the violence on July 26, the two chief ministers started playing blame game on Twitter, holding the police and civilians (reportedly carrying sticks and rods) of the other state responsible for the incident. Mizoram filed FIRs against Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma and 200 Assam Police officials in connection with the incident. The Assam government, too, filed FIRs against the deputy commissioner of Kolasib and two other officials. Some local organisations reportedly blocked the National Highway 306 in Assam, cutting essential supplies to Mizoram.

Worried by the growing hostility between the two states, the North East Students’ Organisation, comprising major student unions of the northeastern states, released a statement saying that the incident ought to be seen not as an ‘ethnic clash’ but as a ‘border dispute’ resulting from the failure of the state governments to find a permanent solution. 

With the intervention of the Union Home Ministry, fresh negotiations to de-escalate matters between the two states began, with the two chief ministers and Union Home Minister Amit Shah discussing the situation. Following the discussion, both the chief ministers directed their respective state authorities to drop all FIR charges against the accused officials of the other state.

However, three weeks after the July incident, on August 17, 2021, tension escalated again along the Assam-Mizoram border after the Assam Police allegedly fired on three Mizo residents. One of them was reportedly injured.
 
In a bid to find a concrete solution to the border disputes in the Northeast, the Union government has decided to demarcate borders of the northeastern states with the help of satellite imaging, the responsibility for which has been given to the North Eastern Space Application Centre dedicated to supporting developmental process in the region using advanced space technology. 

Demand/Contention of the Affected Community

Demand for legal recognition of land rights

Other Demand/Contention of the Affected Community

Demand to resolve the long-standing border dispute

Region Classification

Rural

Type of Land

Common

Type of Common Land

Forest and Non-Forest, Non-Forest (Other than Grazing Land)

Total investment involved (in Crores):

Type of investment:

Year of Estimation

Page Number In Investment Document:

Has the Conflict Ended?

No

When did it end?

Why did the conflict end?

Categories of Legislations Involved in the Conflict

Legislations/Policies Involved

Bengal Eastern Frontier Regulation Act, 1873
Section 2 [State government of Mizoram to prescribe and alter the “Inner Line” in any of its districts by official gazette. State government to have the power to prohibit Indian citizens/residents residing outside such districts from entering Inner Line without an issued pass]; Section 4 [State government to have power to issue passes and impose restrictions for issuance of the same]
Notification No. 2106 A.P., Government of Assam dated March 9, 1933
[Boundary between the States of Assam and Mizoram were demarcated in this notification]
North-Eastern Areas (Reorganisation) Act, 1971
Section 3 [Establishment of Mizoram as a new state comprising the territories that were part of the Union Territory of Mizoram]
State of Mizoram Act, 1986
Section 3 [Establishment of Mizoram as a new state comprising the territories that were part of the Union Territory of Mizoram]
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    Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Suspendisse varius enim in eros elementum tristique. Duis cursus, mi quis viverra ornare, eros dolor interdum nulla, ut commodo diam libero vitae erat. Aenean faucibus nibh et justo cursus id rutrum lorem imperdiet. Nunc ut sem vitae risus tristique posuere.

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    Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Suspendisse varius enim in eros elementum tristique. Duis cursus, mi quis viverra ornare, eros dolor interdum nulla, ut commodo diam libero vitae erat. Aenean faucibus nibh et justo cursus id rutrum lorem imperdiet. Nunc ut sem vitae risus tristique posuere.

Whether claims/objections were made as per procedure in the relevant statute

What was the claim(s)/objection(s) raised by the community?

What was the Decision of the Concerned Government Department?

Legal Processes and Loopholes Enabling the Conflict:

Land record discrepancies

Legal Status:

Out of Court

Status of Case In Court

Whether any adjudicatory body was approached

No

Name of the adjudicatory body

Name(s) of the Court(s)

Case Number

Main Reasoning/Decision of court

Major Human Rights Violations Related to the Conflict:

Killing

Torching of houses

Physical attack

Whether criminal law was used against protestors:

Reported Details of the Violation:

Five Assam Police personnel were killed and 60 civilians from the state were injured in an exchange of fire between Assam and Mizoram Police. A day before, eight (unoccupied) farm huts of Mizo farmers were allegedly torched. On August 17, 2021, Assam Police allegedly fired on three Mizo residents, injuring one of them.

Date of Violation

June 25, 2021

Location of Violation

Lailapur-Vairengte border

Nature of Protest

Campaigns (grassroots organisations/press releases/media)

Media-based activism/alternative media

Blockades

Property damage/arson

Armed protests

Complaints/petitions/letters/memorandums to officials

Government Departments Involved in the Conflict:

Office of the Deputy Commissioner, Cachar; Office of the Deputy Commissioner, Kolasib; Assam Police; Mizoram Police

PSUs Involved in the Conflict:

Did LCW Approach Government Authorities for Comments?

LCW wrote an email to the Cachar deputy commissioner for comment on the issue but did not receive any response.

Name, Designation and Comment of the Government Authorities Approached

Corporate Parties Involved in the Conflict:

Did LCW Approach Corporate Parties for Comments?

Communities/Local Organisations in the Conflict:

North East Students’ Organisation

Resources Related to Conflict

  • News Articles Related to the Conflict:
  • Documents Related to the Conflict:
  • Links Related to the Conflict:

Image Credit:  

Image Credit:  

Documented By

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Reviewed By

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Updated By

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Edited By

Text LinkLand Conflict Watch
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