The border dispute between the two northeastern states, Assam and Mizoram, turned violent on Monday. Six Assam Police personnel were martyred while 80 others were injured in clashes between police and civilians on both sides. Many officers are also included in these injured. The incident took place at Lailapur near the inter-state border passing through Chachar.
25 years fight
Actually, the border dispute between the two states has been going on for the last 25 years. Mizoram shares a border of 164.6 km with Assam. Mizoram claims 1,318 sq km of Inner Line Reserve Forest under the Bengal Eastern Frontier Regulation (BEFR) of 1873, while Assam accepts the map prepared by the Survey of India in 1933 and the boundary line drawn. To end this dispute between the two states, several rounds of talks were held since the year 1995, in which the central government was also involved, but these exercises were in vain.
In the year 2018, the two states again quarreled and in August 2020, the border dispute between the two took a serious form. Then Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal wrote a letter to Union Home Minister Amit Shah seeking his intervention in the matter. At that time the tensions had subsided to some extent, but the two states continued to accuse each other of trespassing on the border. The same dispute turned violent on Monday.
What is that notification of the year 1875
The main reason for the border dispute between Assam and Mizoram is the notification of the year 1875, under which some districts of Arunachal Pradesh, Mizoram and Nagaland were declared protected for tribals and where no person from outside the state was given internal entry. Line Permit (ILP) system implemented. This notification was issued under the Bengal Eastern Frontier Regulation, which came into existence on August 27, 1873. The then British rulers separated the hilly areas with tribal population from the plains under this regulation. In this arrangement was made that only the local administration to whom the ILP would be issued, could enter the hilly areas.
The mention of these districts in the regulation of 1873
Under the Bengal Eastern Frontier Regulation, districts like Kamrup, Darang, Nowgong, Sibsagar, Lakhimpur (Garo Hills), Khasi and Janta Hills, Naga Hills, Chachar were declared protected for tribals. It was arranged under the regulation that the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) would be appointed to issue ILP in these districts.
It has been provided that those who enter the ILP area without a pass will be punished with jail term or fine or both. British officials and citizens were prohibited from entering the districts recorded in the Regulations of 1873. When the Constitution of India came into force in the year 1950, ‘British citizens’ were replaced with ‘Indian citizens’. That is, where British citizens were forbidden to go, now a provision has been made to prevent Indian citizens from going. Then special provisions were made in the Sixth Schedule of the Constitution for the administration of the tribal areas of Assam, Meghalaya, Tripura and Mizoram.
The regulation clearly states that a person getting ILP will also have to agree to certain conditions as soon as he reaches the tribal areas. For example, he will not have to touch any product of the forest like ivory, rubber etc. There will not be a book, diary, map etc. to be taken with you, as well as there is a ban on taking pictures there. This regulation does not give the right to any person from outside the district to settle there or buy land.
Why was the regulation introduced?
Actually, the main purpose of implementing the ILP system was to preserve the tribal culture. The British used to go to the tribal areas in those days. There were two purposes for the British going to the hilly areas – one is the exploitation of natural resources, and the other is the conversion of the tribals. Therefore, clear provisions have been made in BEFR to prohibit both these activities. In the regulation, on the one hand, it provides for preventing the handling of wild products, and on the other hand, it also provides for punishment for any attempt to influence the tribals religiously-culturally.
Mizoram was once a district of Assam
How interesting is it that the Mizoram police, which is being accused of attacking the Assam Police, was once a district of Assam. It became a union territory in 1972 and then on February 20, 1987, it got the status of the 23rd state of India. Being situated between Myanmar to the east and south and Bangladesh to the west, Mizoram is of great strategic importance in the northeastern corner of India.
Keep in mind that Assam came under the jurisdiction of the British Government in the year 1826. The Bengal, Bihar, Orissa and Assam Laws Act was enacted in the year 1912, which was first amended in 1937 and then in 1950. Assam is the watchdog of Northeast India and the gateway to the northeastern states. It is close to India’s international borders with Bhutan and Bangladesh. Assam is bounded by Bhutan and Arunachal Pradesh in the north, Manipur and Nagaland in the east and Meghalaya, Mizoram and Tripura in the south.
Where to go to Mizoram – How to make ILP
Citizens of other states of India have to take ILP from the Liaison Officer of the state to enter Mizoram. You can take Iapli from Kolkata, Silchar, Shillong, Guwahati or New Delhi. Government officials coming to Mizoram for official purposes are not required to take ILP. They can leave by showing their identity card.
Those who want to go to Mizoram by plane, they will have to take ILP from the security officer at Lengpui airport. At the same time, foreign tourists have to get registered in the SP office of the concerned district within 24 hours of reaching Mizoram. People from Afghanistan, China and Pakistan or Afghan, Chinese and Pakistani nationals of foreign origin can be issued an ILP only after taking approval from the Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India.