Sources revealed that both Assam and Mizoram had been talking through their chief secretaries in a Centre-chaperoned dialogue process to douse interstate border tensions before police forces of both sides clashed on July 26. The first round of talks was conducted on July 8 in the national capital.
Referring to the first round of talks, CM Himanta Biswa Sarma quoted that it was a failure. He said the talks failed at the final stage of a proposed memorandum of understanding.
On Wednesday, the top bureaucrats and police chiefs of the two states were due to arrive at Delhi for fresh talks. The ferocious clash of Monday claimed the lives of five Assam policemen and a civilian. Similarly, several people and policemen were reportedly wounded on the Mizoram side.
The officials further stated that the talks between the two sides were focused on some kind of ‘status quo ante’, which refers to a return to earlier positions. However, the process failed because the differences continued over what should be the point of the status quo ante.
Assam had proposed a satellite-based mapping of the disputed interstate border, a proposal that found its way into a draft memorandum of understanding, while Mizoram proposed chief secretary-level talks monitored by the Centre.
“My proposal to him (Mizoram chief minister Zoramthanga) was that we will carry out satellite photography of the borders as on the day of my swearing-in (May 10, 2021). In the talks, Assam had said that whatever is the status quo situation, be that on May 10 or six months ago or as on date, we should maintain status quo on the border as determined through satellite mapping,” Sarma said.
Meanwhile, Mizoram’s home minister Lalchamliana has declined to comment on the talks. However, he reiterated that Mizoram stands for peaceful resolution of the border dispute.
According to a statement by the Mizoram government, it outlined that with the intervention of the Honorable Union Home Minister, Assam police have withdrawn from the place and the duty post has (sic) been handed back to CRPF (Central Reserve Police Force) personnel.
Assam’s border disputes have their roots in how the state was carved up to form other states in the region. Mizoram, which became a state in 1987, was once part of Assam.