Borders are generally geographic or political boundaries, with cultural differences between regions on either side manifesting gradually over distances. Not so the border between Mizoram and Assam’s Barak Valley, where stark differences are immediately perceptible. The border dispute between the two states thus involves issues of both territory and identity.
The dispute goes back 150 years, but has escalated, thanks to differential population pressure. Although both regions have seen high growth rates, population density on the Assam side is ten times the average for Mizoram. In contrast to Barak, the state has the lowest population of Muslims in the north-east, at 1.35 per cent, according to the 2011 census.
Two sides of the story
“They (people from Assam) keep trying to come across and we keep throwing them back”, a member of the powerful MZP (Mizoram’s student organisation) had observed prior to the 2011 census.
That concern is echoed today…