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General Studies 2 >> Polity




1. Context

Recently, five Assam Police personnel were killed after the old boundary dispute between Assam and Mizoram exploded in violent clashes at a contested border point.

2. Key points

  • In October last year, residents of Assam and Mizoram had clashed twice in the space of a week over territory, in which at least eight people were injured and a few huts and small shops were torched.
  • The violence spotlights the long-standing inter-state boundary issues in the Northeast, particularly between Assam and the states that were carved out of it.

3. October 2020 incident

  • Residents of Lailapur village in Assam's Cachar district clashed with residents of localities near Vairengte in Mizoram's Kolasib district.
  • Days before this clash, on October 9, similar violence had taken place on the border of Karimganj (Assam) and Mamit (Mizoram) districts.
  • On October 9, a farm hut and a betel nut plantation belonging to two Mizoram residents were set on fire.
  • In the second incident in Cachar, some people from Lailapur had pelted Mizoram police personnel and Mizoram residents with stones. In turn, Mizoram residents mobilised and went after them.
Image source: The Indian Express

4. Reasons led to the violence and clashes

  • According to an agreement between the governments of Assam and Mizoram some years ago, the status quo should be maintained in no man's land in the border area.
  • However, people from Lailapur broke the status quo and allegedly constructed some temporary huts.
  • People from the Mizoram side went and set fire to them. The contested land belongs to Assam as per the state's records.
  • According to the Mizoram officials, the land claimed by Assam has been cultivated for a long time by residents of Mizoram.
  • The although the contested land was historically cultivated by Mizoram by Mizoram residents, on paper it fell within the Singla Forest Reserve that is under Karimganj's Jurisdiction. Mizoram borders Assam's Barak Valley; both border Bangladesh.
  • Mizoram's civil society groups blame "illegal Bangladeshis" (alleged migrants from Bangladesh) on the Assam Side. Illegal Bangladeshis are creating all this trouble.
  • They come and destroy our huts, cut our plants and this time pelted stones at our policemen.

5. The Genesis of the boundary dispute

  • In the Northeast's complex boundary equations, showdowns between Assam and Mizoram residents are less frequent than they are between, say, Assam and Nagaland residents.
  • Nevertheless, the boundary between present-day Assam and Mizoram, 165 km long today, dates back to the colonial era, when Mizoram was known as Lushai Hills, a district of Assam.
  • The dispute stems from a notification of 1875 that differentiated the Lushai Hills from the plains of Cachar and another of 1933, that demarcates a boundary between the Lushai Hills and Manipur.
  • Mizoram Minister told that Mizoram believes the boundary should be demarcated on the 1875 notification, which is derived from the Bengal Eastern Frontier Regulation (BEFR) Act, of 1873.
  • Mizo leaders have argued in the past against the demarcation notified in 1933 because Mizo society was not consulted.
  • MZP's Vanlaltana said the Assam government follows the 1933 demarcation and that was the point of conflict.
  • Before the incidents of July 26 and last October, the last time the boundary saw violence was in February 2018.
  • On that occasion, the MZP had built a wooden rest house in a forest, ostensibly for use by farmers.
  • The Assam Police and forest department officials had demolished it, saying this was in Assam territory.
  • MZP members had then clashed with Assam personnel, who also thrashed a group of Mizoram journalists who had gone to cover the incident.
For Prelims: Assam- Mizoram border dispute, Barak Valley, Bengal Eastern Frontier Regulation (BEFR) Act, of 1873, Mizo society,
For Mains:
1. What is the Assam-Mizoram border dispute? Discuss its genesis and Explain the reasons for recent violence and clashes. (250 Words)
Previous Year Questions
1. Consider the following States: (UPSC 2022)
1. Andhra Pradesh
2. Kerala
3. Himachal Pradesh
4. Tripura
How many of the above are generally known as tea-producing States?
A. Only one State        B. Only two States     C. Only three States          D. All four States
Answer: C
2. Consider the following rivers (UPSC  2014) 
1. Barak 
2. Lohit
3. Subansiri
Which of the above flows/flow through Arunachal Pradesh? 
A. 1 only         B. 2 and 3 only       C.  1 and 3 only       D. 1, 2 and 3
Answer: B
3. Consider the following pairs: (UPSC 2018)
Tradition                                State
1. Chapchar Kut festival       Mizoram
2. Khongjom Parba ballad    Manipur
3. Thang-Ta dance               Sikkim
Which of the pairs given above is/are correct? 
A. 1 only         B. 1 and 2                C. 3 only                  D. 2 and 3
Answer: B
4. Consider the following pairs:  (UPSC 2014)
1. Dampa Tiger Reserve           Mizoram
2. Gumti Wildlife Sanctuary    Sikkim
3. Saramati Peak                       Nagaland
Which of the above pairs is/are correctly matched?
A. 1 only     B. 2 and 3 only      C. 1 and 3 only     D.  1, 2 and 3
Answer: C
5. Frequently used term Inner Line Permit is associated with_______. (OTET 2017)
A. Permit required for construction near border areas
B. Restriction on NRIs from selected countries
C. Immigration in selected North East States
D. Special state fund allocation
Answer: C
6. In which of the following states is the Inner Line Permit NOT operational in India?
(SSC JE CE 2020) 
A. Arunachal Pradesh
B. Sikkim
C. Mizoram
D. Nagaland
Answer: B
Source: The Indian Express

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