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August 23, 2021

Mizoram will not take legal action against Assam cops after filing theft case

Mizoram police will not initiate legal proceedings against their Assam counterparts in a case of alleged theft of construction material, a senior official said on Monday, a day after the things were handed back.

Kolasib district Superintendent of Police Vanlalfaka Ralte said the construction material meant for a bridge was handed over to the Mizoram police in Bairabi on Sunday around 6 pm.

“Although the case cannot be withdrawn now, there will be no further legal proceedings or investigation against the accused,” he told PTI.

In a fresh escalation of tensions between the two neighbouring states, the Mizoram government had accused Assam officials of stealing construction material from a bridge construction site in its territory and filed a case of theft after the Friday incident.

Kolasib deputy commissioner H Lalthlangliana had claimed on Sunday that Assam police personnel entered Zophai near Bairabi town and stole construction material.

The incident happened when work was underway to construct a bridge to connect the main road with the paddy field belonging to Mizoram”s first chief minister Ch. Chhunga, he said.

Mizoram’s Zophai shares border with Assam’s Kachurthal in Hailakandi district.

Lalthlangliana had also written to his Hailakandi counterpart on Saturday, urging him to take necessary action.

In his letter, Lalthlangliana said the incident or bridge construction should not be linked to the boundary dispute between the two states as the work was undertaken just to connect an existing road within Mizoram”s territory to the paddy field of the former chief minister.

Assam police had rejected the allegation of theft and claimed that Mizoram officials entered Assam and started constructing a bridge.

“The allegation of any theft by a disciplined force like Assam police is absolutely concocted, baseless, malafide and devoid of fact, and is an attempt by the Mizoram administration to divert the attention from main issue which is illegal construction by Mizoram authorities on Assam”s soil,” Hailakandi SP Gaurav Upadhyay had said on Sunday.

The officer in-charge (OC) of Ramnathpur police station, under which falls Kachurthar, and his patrolling team had immediately reached the site on Friday and stopped the construction work, calling it a “trespass” by Mizoram.

Mizoram’s three districts- Aizawl, Mamit and Kolasib share about 164.6 km interstate border with Assam’s Cachar, Hailakandi and Karimganj.

The situation along the border has been tense since June 29 when both states accused each other of encroachment.

Tension snowballed into a full-blown armed conflict on July 26 when police personnel of the two states, backed by local residents, opened fire and clashed, leaving at least seven people from Assam dead. The deceased included six Assam police personnel.

During a meeting on August 5 in Aizawl, representatives of the two state governments had agreed to maintain peace and amicably resolve the border dispute through dialogue.

However, simmering tension still prevails in the area following incidents of bombing of a school building and firing on civilians after the July 26 clash. PTI

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