Assam ministers urge locals to lift Mizoram blockade

Assam ministers urge locals to lift economic blockade to Mizoram

As the ministers were engaged in discussions with members of the truckers association, the irate public started pelting stones and damaged two stranded trucks

The inner line reserve forest area on Assam-Mizoram border. Credit: Forest department, Cachar district, Assam

Assam ministers Ashok Singhal and Parimal Suklabaidya on Saturday visited the interstate border with Mizoram at Lailapur in Cachar district to persuade the locals lift the economic blockade and allow vehicles to move to the neighbouring state, officials said.

As the ministers were engaged in discussions with members of the truckers association, the irate public started pelting stones and damaged two stranded trucks. Police, including Cachar Superintendent of Police Ramandeep Kaur, rushed to the spot and brought the situation under control.

The local people and some organizations had resorted to an "unofficial economic blockade" in the area bordering Mizoram following the killing of six police personnel and a civilian in an attack from across the border on July 26.

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Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma directed both the ministers to visit Lailapur Police Outpost along the inter-state border and persuade the locals to allow free movement of the vehicles laden with essential goods to Mizoram. The ministers along with Deputy Commissioner Keerthi Jalli, the SP and other senior officials of Cachar held talks with the locals and urged them to withdraw the economic blockade and to create an atmosphere paving the way for restoration of peace and tranquility on the inter-state border.

"Met the representatives of civil society in presence of Minister Parimal Suklabaidya at Lailapur civil post.......discussed on facilitating smooth movement of goods and transportation in border area maintaining peace", Singhal, who is Cachar's guardian minister, tweeted. Minister for Environment and forests Parimal Suklabaidya, who is the local MLA of Dholai under which Lailapur falls said that the "safety of the local people is our responsibility and we assure all necessary support".

Both the ministers urged the people to refrain from any further protests or any unwanted circumstances along the routes to Mizoram to ensure smooth flow of essentials to the neighbouring state.

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The local people resorting to economic blockade have agreed to withdraw the blockade and that movement of scores of stranded trucks on the Assam side of the border is most likely to begin tonight.

The chief minister had said on Friday that though precious lives were lost in the attack "we must move ahead on the path of peace and progress. We stand committed to protect the constitutional boundaries but I appeal to our people to allow movement of goods to Mizoram".

Singhal and Border Areas Development Minister Atul Bora had visited Aizawl on August 5 and a joint statement was issued by both the governments pledging to work for peace along the interstate border. Following the release of the joint statement, Assam government had withdrawn the travel advisory, issued on July 29 cautioning people from visiting Mizoram.

The Assam government has maintained that there is no official 'economic blockade' along the border but the vehicles were not moving towards Mizoram fearing attacks.