New Delhi: A ‘neutral’ probe by a central agency into the July 26 Assam-Mizoram border clash is unlikely with the Centre unwilling to escalate the issue any further and chief ministers of either state have made no such request, according to sources in the government.
The idea, rather, is to let things settle on the ground as Assam chief minister Himanta Biswa Sarma and his Mizoram counterpart Zoramthanga come together to resolve the issue through talks, in line with the advice by home minister Amit Shah who has been in constant touch with them to de-escalate matters.
“There is strong political will at the Centre to resolve the matter expeditiously through talks and both the chief ministers are fully cooperating,” a Central government functionary said hinting that a virtual meeting between Sarma and Zoramthanga may have already been held even as Sarma revealed in a tweet on Sunday that Zoramthanga, who has isolated himself after coming into contact with a Covid-19 positive person, had promised to call him to post his quarantine.

Meanwhile, sources told TOI that the situation at the inter-state border is now peaceful and that there is no scope of any further faceoff between the Assam and Mizoram police personnel with the disputed area now exclusively being patrolled by CRPF. On accusations by either side that they had not yet vacated the border positions, a source clarified that neither Assam nor Mizoram police can enter the area assigned to CRPF, which, as per arrangement agreed to by the two states, shall be directly answerable to the home ministry.
As for FIRs registered by both the state police, with the one by Mizoram police naming Sarma and Assam police summoning Mizoram MP and senior police officials, TOI has learnt that a mutual agreement may be reached during talks between the chief ministers to withdraw or whittle down the charges in the FIRs. Sarma had on Saturday reacted to the Mizoram police’s FIR naming him, tweeting that while he was happy to join the investigation, “why the case is not being handed over to a neutral agency, especially when the place of occurrence is well within the constitutional territory of Assam”.

A Central government functionary said there were indications that the charges were slapped on each other’s political functionaries in the heat of the moment and the same may be withdrawn with mutual agreement between the two states.
The functionary insisted the June 26 clash was a “solitary incident” in a band of seven years that has seen insurgency incidents in the northeast dip by 80%, security forces casualties by 75% and civilian deaths by 99% between 2014 and 2020.
Sources said the Centre had held several meetings since last year to resolve the Assam-Mizoram border dispute, including one in the MHA in June 2021, followed by an advisory to both Assam and Mizoram to exercise restraint. Also, chief secretaries of the two states had met in New Delhi on June 9 to discuss the border issue.
“The Centre has been sincerely trying to resolve the border row for long,” said a government functionary. The political will of the Centre to facilitate an early end to the border crisis, he said, is an extension of the Modi government’s focus on peace and development in the northeast.
The functionary recalled that it was part of this approach towards the northeast region that flow of resources under 10% gross budgetary support to the northeast increased from Rs 36,107 crore in 2014-15 to Rs 68,020 in 2021-22. Apart from the completion of major road projects, rail connectivity was brought to the 2-3 north-eastern states where it was missing and air connectivity cleared for all state capitals with international airports coming up at three north-eastern state capitals.





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