Aizawl, 7th June: Two abandoned houses along the Assam-Mizoram border have been burned down by unidentified persons, fuelling tension along the volatile inter-state border, police said.
Both the states claimed that the incident took place inside their territory but no casualty was reported as the houses were empty. While Assam blamed “miscreants from Mizoram”, the neighbouring state pointed the accusing finger at “Bangladeshi immigrants who wanted to flare up the border dispute”.
Hailakandi district Superintendent of Police Ramandeep Kaur claimed that besides burning down the two empty houses belonging to Ali Hussain and Saidul Islam, miscreants from Mizoram have also erected a structure 300 metres inside Assam”s territory near Gutguti area in the district.
An investigation is underway to ascertain the identity of the miscreants involved in the incidents and cases have been registered, she said. Security has been beefed up in the area and patrolling has been intensified, the SP said.
The matter has been taken up with higher-level authorities in Mizoram and hopefully, the issue will be resolved soon, Kaur said. Kaur, along with Hailakandi Deputy Commissioner Rohan Kumar Jha and Ramnathpur police station officer-in-charge Liton Nath visited the area to review the prevailing situation.
The location falls under the inner-line reserve forest area and is very difficult to reach from the Assam side. Vanlalfaka Ralte, the SP of Mizoram”s Kolasib district, claimed that the abandoned houses were located in the Zophai area near Bairabi town in the district.
“The houses, abandoned since February this year, were earlier occupied by non-tribals hired by Mizos to look after their paddy fields. We suspect that the burning of the houses was a political ploy by Bangladeshi immigrants to revive the border issue between the two neighbouring states,” he said.
The area where the incident took place is within the territory of Mizoram and not within the inner line reserved forest area, he said, adding that the owners of the field have land pattas (documents) in Mizoram and pay land taxes to the state government.
A case has been registered with the Bairabi police station and a manhunt launched to nab the accused.
Since October last year, there have been frequent incidents of burning of houses, allegations of land encroachment and even a bomb blast inside a closed school along the 164.6-km-long Assam-Mizoram border.
The previous incident had taken place near Gallacherra border outpost, under which Gutguti falls, in February and since then, many residents had vacated their houses, Kaur added.