A day after Mizoram imposed prohibitory orders under Section 144 on public movement at Phuldungsei, a small village perched atop the Jampui Hills along Tripura-Mizoram inter-state border, Tripura said the village fell under the administrative control of North Tripura and asked Mizoram authorities to withdraw the order immediately.
The standoff between the two states started three months back in August after a report found that 130 villagers living in Phuldungsei village had names in electoral rolls in both Tripura and Mizoram and double ration cards. The issue was first flagged by Tripura royal scion Pradyot Kishore Manikya Debbarma on social media, soon after which the state government took up the issue. The latest trigger has been the construction of a temple and “community work” at Phuldungsei village.
In a letter to OSD-cum-Deputy Secretary of Mizoram David H Lalthangliana, accessed by indianexpress.com, Additional Home Secretary of Tripura SAK Bhattacharya claimed the Mamit district magistrate, in his prohibitory order, had erroneously included Phuldungsei village under Sabual village council of Jampui Hills rural development block in Kanchanpur sub-division of North Tripura.
“I would like to refer the prohibitory order issued by the district magistrate, Mamit district, Mizoram vide No. J.11011/33/2017-DC(M) dated 16th October, 2020 indicating areas of North Tripura district of Tripura state in his order which is highly objectionable. District Magistrate, Mamit has erroneously mentioned Betlingchhip (as also referred as Thaidawr Tlang by few Mizos) which is currently under complete administrative control and possession of the state of Tripura under North Tripura district,” Additional Home Secretary of Tripura SAK Bhattacharya said in a letter to OSD-cum-Deputy Secretary of Mizoram David H. Lalthangliana.
The local administration of North Tripura district also found that a part of Phuldungsei was shown in Mizoram’s territorial area.
A letter from Kanchanpur Sub-Divisional Magistrate (SDM) Chandni Chandran to her superiors in August mentioned that Phuldungsei Village Council has been added as part of the constituency as Zampui Phuldungsei. Subsequently, a joint survey was agreed upon.
However, Mizoram has maintained that the village was under the state’s territorial area and flagged objections to announcement of construction of a temple and “community work” in the area on October 10 and termed the inter-state boundary “disputed”.
In a letter to Tripura Home Secretary BK Sahu on October 10, his Mizoram counterpart Lalbiaksangi said any activities carried out within the “disputed” inter-state boundary could result in law and order problems and sought “immediate and indefinite” stoppage of all sorts of work in the area.
Later, in a prohibitory order issued on Friday, Mizoram’s Mamit District Magistrate Dr Lalrozama said an organisation of Tripura named Songrongma had intended to construct a Shiv Mandir on October 19 and 20 at Thaidaw Tlang, which is located within Mamit district.
“…This has been planned without the permission of the Govt. of Mizoram and is against the interest of the local community and could harm peace and tranquility in the region….it is necessary to prohibit people from assembling in groups to prevent any untoward incident, which is likely to disrupt or adversely affect peace and tranquility prevailing in the region,” the notice available with indianexpress.com reads.
The prohibitory notice states that assembly of five or more persons is prohibited in the village and surrounding areas of Phuldungsei Zampi and Zomuantlang, Mamit district, Mizoram from October 16 and would continue until further orders. Any violation of the order would be dealt with under section 188 of the IPC, which is punishable with one month imprisonment or Rs 200 fine or both and imprisonment up to six months if the violation poses threat to human life, health, safety or is a potential cause for breakdown of law like rioting.