By HENRY L. KHOJOL | AIZAWL, MAR 11, 2018
Mizoram simmered on Saturday as all student unions in the state joined hands with state’s apex student body Mizo Zirlai Pawl (MZP) in the wake of mounting tension and alleged brutality by Assam police over the inter-state boundary dispute between Mizoram and Assam.
The joint meeting of all student unions comprising Mizo Students’ Union (MSU), Aizawl City College Joint Students Union (ACCJSU) and Hnampual Zirlai Pawl, a conglomerate of five Mizo ethnic student bodies on Saturday extended support to the MZP’s plan to construct resting shed at Zophai near Mizoram-Assam border town Bairabi on what they claimed to be the territory of Mizoram and asked all non-tribals to stay indoor as precautionary measure to avoid untoward incident in the wake of attack on Mizostudents by Assam police.
All non-tribal shops in Mizoram were also asked to shut down till normalcy returns to the region.
The joint meeting also demanded withdrawal of Assam police from the border area within 24 hours and asked the Mizoram government to pressurize its counterpart Assam to compensate the students, who sustained injuries in lathi-charge by Assam police.
Representatives of all student unions led by MSU general secretary Lalthanzuala on Saturday met chief minister Lal Thanhawla at the latter’s office and asked him to take remedial measure to resolve the inter-state border dispute.
The student leaders also asked the chief minister to take measure so the injured students are compensated by the Assam government and threatened indefinite shutdown from Monday to make the government in action.
Chief minister Lal Thanhawla on his part assured the student leaders that immediate steps would be taken to resolve the boundary dispute.
Sources said that several students including MZP vice president Vanlaltana and reporters, who had gone to the agitation site to cover the incident on Saturday, were injured when Assam police allegedly opened fire towards the agitating students, who were trying to construct resting shed at Zophai paddy field.
Two students were also injured in police firing.
MZP leaders said that the student body secretary and North East Students’ Organisation (NESO) member Ricky Lalchhandama sustained bullet injuries on his feet. He was rushed to Bairabi Health Centre.
Police brutality has no bound to scribes as Embassy Lawbei, a reporter of Guwahati based News-18 and Catherine C. Sangi, correspondent of All India Radio were injured from lathi-charge by Assam police, sources said.
Lawbei said that the Assam police were targeting at all Mizos irrespective of scribes, who were carrying press identity card. “We have no arms like police except our pens, cameras and notepads. The police have no respect for media which is an utter insult to the freedom of press,” she said.
Earlier on Thursday, three journalists were wounded in police action despite flaunting their press cards. They had gone to the spot to cover the programme.
Over 600 students are camping at the site to construct rest shed called ‘Zofate Chawlhbuk’ on the land, as claimed by MZP, donated by former Mizoram chief minister Ch. Chhunga’s wife Lalrothangi.
Several political parties including the main opposition the Mizo National Front (MNF) demanded the resignation of chief minister Lal Thanhawla and home minister R.Lalzirliana for being tight lipped over the issue and failing to take action.
Meanwhile, all party meeting was convened on Saturday evening to deliberate border issue and the prevailing border tension. The decision of the meeting was not known till this report is filed.