Two trucks carrying oxygen and equipment for installing an oxygen plant were among 27 that finally entered Mizoram late on Saturday night after remaining stuck at the border with Assam since July 26 because of a blockade.
Some organisations had imposed the blockade in protest against the killing of six Assam Police personnel by their Mizoram counterparts at Lailapur in the Cachar district of Assam.
Superintendent of police of Kolasib district of Mizoram Vanlalfaka Ralte told Outlook that the trucks started entering Mizoram late at night. "Last night, 27 trucks entered Mizoram. Two of them were carrying oxygen and equipment for oxygen plant and some carried POL, cement etc, " he said.
Assam ministers Parimal Suklabaidya and Ashok Singhal had held meetings with various groups of people before the vehicles could move. The meeting took place after initial trouble during which several vehicles were damaged in stone-pelting and forced to turn back.
Some vehicles which were released from Mizoram House in Silchar also came under attack at Lailapur, according to the deputy resident commissioner, S Kaptluanga. “The vehicles were attacked around 6 pm. Assam Police is cheating my people, last year also on October 31 they did the same thing. They escorted my people out of the Mizoram House and then left them at the mercy of the angry mob at Lailapur. So many windshields are broken. They (Assam Police) exposed them (Mizoram people and vehicles) to great risk,” Kaptluanga was quoted as saying.
The two ministers were deputed by Assam chief minister Himanta Biswa Sarma to the border to hold talks with those sponsoring the blockade since the July 26 border dispute flare-up.
In a video message on Friday, Mizoram health minister Dr R Lalthangliana said it was very difficult to manage patients who were in dire need of oxygen given its limited supply due to the blockade. “Covid-19 patients are dying for want of medicines which are still stuck on the other side of the border. This act of arrogance is clearly in violation of basic human rights and the right to life under Article 21 of the Constitution of India,” he said. Besides, other basic necessities such as PPE kits are also held up.
Sarma later appealed to the people to allow the vehicles to move while asserting that Assam was committed to safeguarding the state’s constitutional boundaries.
Lalthangliana said that machinery for the establishment of an oxygen plant at Zoram Medical College was still stranded at Guwahati. The oxygen plant is supposed to be commissioned before August 15 as per the directive of the Centre.
After the July 26 flare-up, Assam and Mizoram held a meeting on August 5 in an effort to defuse tensions at the border and work towards finding an amicable settlement of the decades-old dispute between the two states.