Assam on Thursday filed a suit before a court here in Cachar district against certain officials of the Mizoram government for alleged “encroachment of its forest land and intentional destruction of forests”.
The case was filed in the backdrop of tension between the two Northeastern states following alleged encroachment of land in Cachar district by the people of Mizoram.
Cachar Divisional Forest Officer Sani Deo Choudhury filed the petition against the Superintendent of Police and Deputy Superintendent of Police of Mizoram’s Kolasib district and Officers of CRPF’s 22 Battalion and the India Reserve Battalion of the neighbouring state.
It was filed under various sections of the Assam Forest Regulation Act.
According to the Act, whoever violates it shall on conviction be punishable with imprisonment for a term not less than three years, which may extend to seven years or with fine, or with both.
Choudhury later told PTI that encroachers and miscreants from the neighbouring state have allegedly destroyed valuable trees as well as the forest.
He said that the Cachar forest department was planning to take more stringent measures to stop encroachment and protect Assam’s forests along the inter-state border.
Assam shares a 164.6 km border with Mizoram and the border demarcation has remained a contentious issue.
The situation has recently flared up in Khulicherra area of the district, where people from Mizoram have reportedly entered up to 6.5 kilometres inside Assam land a few days ago, following which the Assam Police along with civil administration carried out an eviction drive.
Around 300 Assam Police personnel have been stationed on the border to prevent any bid of encroachment from Mizoram side.
People of neighbouring Mizoram have encroached on nearly 1,800 hectares of Assam land spread across three districts, Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said in the assembly on July 12.
A high-level meeting on the border issue attended by chief secretaries and DGPs of Assam and Mizoram was held in New Delhi on July 9.
Mizoram was part of Assam until 1972 when it was carved out as a Union Territory.
It became the 23rd state of India on 20 February 1987 following the historic Mizoram Accord between the erstwhile underground Mizo National Front (MNF) and the Centre, ending 20 years of insurgency in the state.