After Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said that he would approach the Supreme Court to resolve the border dispute with Mizoram, both state administrations took a step towards easing tensions.
Sarma tweeted, "I've directed Assam Police to withdraw FIR against Rajya Sabha MP from Mizoram K Vanlalvena." The MP was booked by Assam Police in connection with 26 July border violence.
Cases filed against other accused police officials will be pursued, Sarma added.
Special DGP of Assam Police, GP Singh, tweeted on Monday, 2 August, that the case against Vanlalvena had been abated.
"This has been done at the instruction of CM of Assam Himanta Biswa Sarma in the interest of de-escalation of the tension along the border. However, criminal proceedings against erring police personnel of Mizoram Police and other miscreants shall continue," he tweeted.
Mizoram's Kolasib district, which borders Assam’s Cachar district, witnessed violent clashes on 26 July, which left six people dead and over 100 people from both states injured.
'Mizoram CM Did Not Approve FIR Against CM Sarma'
In the aftermath of the clashes, the Mizoram Police had also filed an FIR against the Assam CM, however, Mizoram Chief Secretary Lalnunmawia Chuango has said that Chief Minister Zoramthanga had not approved the inclusion of his name in the FIR, The Indian Express reported.
“I will hold discussion with the police officer who filed the FIR, and if there is no legal fit, we would like to remove the name of Assam chief minister from the FIR,” news agency PTI quoted Chuango as saying.
According to news agency ANI, Chief Minister Sarma had earlier said that he would happily appear before any police station if a mere FIR can resolve the long-standing border dispute between the two states.
""I'm happy if filing an FIR against me resolves the issue, I'll go & appear before any police station. But I will not allow our officers to be investigated. We will go to SC to resolve boundary dispute."" - Himanta Biswa Sarma, Chief Minister, Assam.
200 Police Personnel, 6 State Officials Booked
Besides the CM, an FIR had been registered against six top state officials by the Mizoram police on 26 July, on charges of attempt to murder and assault.
Around 200 unidentified police personnel too, were also booked in the case.
Expressing his willingness to join the probe, Sarma asked why the case is not being handed over to a neutral agency.
""..why is the case not being handed over to a neutral agency, especially when the place of occurrence is well within the constitutional territory of Assam?"" - Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma
The case was filed at Vairengte police station in Kolasib district of Mizoram by the local inspector, H Lalchawimawii.
Meanwhile, the Assam Police had issued summons to Mizoram's Rajya Sabha member and six state officials, including a Deputy Commissioner and a Superintendent of Police, for their alleged role in the border violence.
What Does the FIR Entail?
The FIR stated that the Assam Police, along with senior officers, “forcefully tried to occupy” a Mizoram police camp “stating that it is an encroachment on the forest land.”
The Assam Police had retorted saying they were there to construct a post and that the action was taken on the “instructions of the CM of Assam.”
The FIR also accused Assam Police officers of initiating lathi-charge and using tear gas and smoke shells on the residents of Vairengte who had gathered in the area, the FIR read, reported The Print.
Border Dispute to Be Resolved: Mizoram CM
The border dispute with Assam will be resolved "amicably through meaningful dialogue," Mizoram Chief Minister Zoramthanga had stated on Sunday, 1 August, following a telephonic conversation with Union Home Minister Amit Shah and Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma.
"As per telephonic discussion with Union Home Minister and Assam Chief Minister, we agreed to resolve the Mizoram- Assam border issue amicably," the Mizoram Chief Minister said on Twitter.
— Zoramthanga (@ZoramthangaCM) August 1, 2021
He also requested the people of Mizoram to "avoid posting sensitive messages" and use social media judiciously.
In a tweet, Sarma also said that what happened at the border was 'unacceptable', while saying that Mizoram Chief Minister Zoramthanga had promised to call him post his quarantine.
"Border disputes can only be resolved through discussion," he said.
The two states share a 164.6 km-long border, which has long been a cause of dispute. Several rounds of dialogue since 1994 have failed to resolve the disagreement between Assam and Mizoram.
During a meeting on Wednesday called by the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA), it was decided a neutral central force will be deployed along the disturbed Assam-Mizoram border, PTI reported.
(With inputs from PTI, The Print and The Indian Express)
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