65 Assam villages keen to merge with Mizoram

Last Updated: Tue, Jan 22, 2013 10:20 hrs

Silchar (Assam), Jan 22 (IANS) Around 16,000 people of 65 villages of Assam want to merge with neighbouring Mizoram, a leader of the villagers said here Tuesday.

Residents of these 65 villages in Karimganj district in southern Assam formed the Cheragi-Jamuyang Sadak Unnayan Samiti (CJSUS) earlier this month to coordinate their move.

"The Assam government has turned a deaf ear to our woes. The state government has not done anything to provide proper infrastructure and development in these villages," CJSUS president Abhimanyu Singh told reporters here.

"We will intensify our movement after the panchayat elections in Assam," he said.

The CJSUS has submitted a resolution to the deputy commissioner of Mamit district of western Mizoram expressing the villagers' willingness to merge with Mizoram.

Assam's Karimganj district Deputy Commissioner Debeswar Malakar met CJSUS leaders last week and assured them that their woes would be addressed after the panchayat elections beginning Jan 30.

"Following our assurances, CJSUS leaders have withdrawn their panchayat poll boycott agitation. We have assured them that their problems will be resolved gradually," Malakar said.

CJSUS secretary Sarful Ali said villagers of the area had boycotted the last Assam assembly election May 2011 over the government's apathy to provide basic facilities, including roads, drinking water, electricity, health care and education.

"Even though Assam Border Area Development Minister Siddique Ahmed is from southern Assam, he has never visited these villages or tried to solve their problems," Ali said.

The CJSUS leaders also alleged that besides the backwardness of the villages, militants from Mizoram were creating trouble in the areas.

Residents of the 65 villagers comprise Manipuris, Muslims and Hindu Bengalis.

A Mizoram home department official told IANS that the state government has no role to play in the villagers' willingness to join Mizoram.

"The matter can be examined only after the central government forms a boundary commission," the official added.

The Mizoram government last year had formed a five-member committee led by legal experts and former minister C. Chawngkunga to resolve its boundary dispute with Assam.

Mizoram, a mountainous state, has a 123-km border with Assam, 66 km with Tripura and 96 km with Manipur.

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