Mizoram demands central order to lift blockade by Assam

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Zoramthanga government on Wednesday wrote to the Centre to get the neighbouring state to immediately reopen road and rail routes “owned and maintained by the government of India”.

“No state agency/entity or the general public has any right to block national highways and railway lines, restricting the movement of people and goods,” Mizoram home secretary Pi Lalbiaksangi said in her missive to Union home secretary Ajay Kumar Bhalla.

Lalbiaksangi said the Silchar-Aizawl stretch of NH-306, which is the lifeline of Mizoram, had been blocked by people on the Assam side at Kabuganj in the Barak Valley. She said rail tracks had been damaged at Mohammadpur and Ramnathpur stations in Assam’s Hailakandi district, cutting off the lone railroad link to Mizoram’s Bairabi.

The landlocked state, the smallest one in the Northeast, is already facing a scarcity of essential items such as oil and rice due to the blockade.

Lalbiaksangi accused Assam, which had clamped a similar economic blockade from October 17 to November 11 last year, of “taking advantage” of the fact that all routes for supply of essential commodities to Mizoram pass through that state.

The Mizoram home secretary’s letter to the Centre contrasted with CM Zoramthanga’s appeal to rebuild the broken bridges of communication with Assam that have created multiple border flashpoints since the first failed dialogue in 1995.

Posting a video on Twitter showing three Bengali-speaking youths from the Barak Valley saying how they felt safe and comfortable in Mizoram, Zoramthanga wrote, “Our Assam brethren receiving their Covid vaccines at a Local Church hall in Aizawl. Non-Mizos from all walks of life within Mizoram are at peace. I urge everyone to remain peaceful and refrain from any sort of violence. NorthEast will always be One.”

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