By now, everybody knows about the Assam Police and Mizoram Police shootout on 26/7, which resulted in the unfortunate demise of six Assam Policemen.
What followed since then, is a barrage of online assault on Mizoram and the Mizo people. Death threats, rape threats, these are the usual messages and replies most Mizos received on social media. And the main instigator is none other than Assam CM Himanta Biswa Sarma.
In this series of blog updates, I will attempt to dispel all the lies levelled against Mizoram. What we should clearly remember here is that this is not a Mizo-Assamese issue. It is a feud between Mizoram and Himanta's ministry.
I saw people from Mizoram trend #ShameOnAssam on Twitter a few days ago. I didn't participate in it because Assam is not the enemy. Assamese people are not the opposition. Don't let our years of friendship and brotherhood be torn apart by HBS. It's good to see most Mizos not using this hashtag anymore.
Every day, new lies about Mizoram are being spread by anti-national elements since this incident took place. From one ridiculous claim to the next, the retweet factories worked in full steam.
Here is my attempt at countering all those lies one by one with facts. Anybody who's been reading my blog for the past 17 years will know that I am unbiased and fair when it comes to these matters. My dream has always been the same - To have continuous peace and fraternity in the North East.
Lie #1. "Miscreants shot at Assam Police".
Right from day 1, HBS had been on the offensive, fuelling the mob with sensationalised tweets. While Mizoram CM was trying to de-escalate the situation, HBS kept posting the usual rhetoric, blaming "miscreants" from Mizoram's side as the perpetuators. After all, nothing wins the heart of the people more than knowing that members of the armed forces were killed by terrorists.
HBS knew this exactly. The word "insurgents" started trending on twitter. It was only much after the confrontation, at 10:28 PM, that HBS finally admitted and tweeted it was Mizoram Police that fired back at Assam Police.
However, members of his ministry still use the word "miscreants" to this day, so as to paint Mizoram in bad light and channel the anger of the public towards Mizoram.
Lie #2. "Shootout happened in the buffer zone".
The area where the shootout happened was not even at the disputed region, which is the buffer zone. It took place at the outskirts of the Mizo town of Vairengte, inside Mizoram, much farther from the disputed area.
According to Assam, yes, a large part of Mizoram lies within Assam as Assam follows the NEARA 1971 boundary based on 1933 demarcation, just as according to Mizoram, a large part of Assam lies within Mizoram because Mizoram follows the BEFR 1875 demarcation.
Both 1933 and 1875 demarcations are pre-Independence, and Mizoram had never accepted the post-Colonial NEARA 1971 boundary as it was drawn without consulting the Mizos. That's why a buffer zone under HMA was placed in between these two boundaries, manned by a neutral CRPF.
On 26th July, Assam Police forced their way past the CRPF outpost at the buffer zone to enter Mizoram's side, a fact that had been confirmed not just by the CRPF and media-persons but thousands of Mizos who were watching the incident LIVE on social media.
However, HBS and his ministry kept repeating this lie over and over again in the hope that Indians will eventually believe the shootout really did take place at the buffer zone.
Lie #3. "Mizo civilians attacked Assam Police unprovoked".
Mizo civilians did retaliate against Assam Police. That part is true. However, it was not "unprovoked". Here's the timeline:
Assam Police, around 200+ of them all heavily armed with LMGs and other heavy weapons in 25+ vehicles including ambulances, suddenly appeared and overran the buffer zone CRPF outpost. After that, they overran the Mizoram Police outpost on Mizoram's side as well. Mizoram Police were vastly outnumbered. It was then that people from Vairengte town ran to their assistance.
As mentioned in the previous point, this whole incident happened inside Mizoram at the outskirts of Vairengte, so it was easy for civilians from the town to quickly assemble and rush to Mizoram Police's assistance.
There were pushings and shovings of course, the usual police-civilian confrontation. The situation seemed controllable at that time, as nothing untowardly violent took place. However, it was the arrival of a Mizo couple from Assam who were all beaten up bloodied from Assam's side with their vehicle completely smashed up that aggravated the whole situation.
The husband and wife were so severely thrashed by Assam Police and civilians that the husband even passed out while the wife continued to be slapped around and spat at. She could have faced an even more horrendous outcome, but some CRPF jawaans nearby finally intervened, in spite of strict orders to remain neutral, and saved the couple. Mizoram is truly grateful to those CRPF jawaans. This incident has been reported to the National Commission for Women, Delhi.
When people of Vairengte saw the badly beaten up couple and vehicle, they were enraged. Mizoram Police tried their best to pacify the fury of the people. Here's a question to you all - Why did Assam Police and civilians thrash the vehicle and couple? And more importantly, why did they send the vehicle through after such a beating, knowing very well it would escalate the situation?
Anybody who's genuinely trying to diffuse a situation would have detained the couple on their side first while treating their wounds and waiting for the heat to subside, before letting them enter Mizoram. That's the most logical thing to do. I mean, come on, every time the Chinese Premier visits India, in order to prevent Tibetans from protesting, Mizos, Nagas and other Northeasterners are picked up randomly from the streets and taken into "preventive custody". Such gross racial profiling is justified for the sake of "maintaining peace" but this isn't?
Lie #4. "Mizoram Police fired first".
Who fired the first shot, which eventually resulted in an hour of gunfire exchange? While Mizoram Police claimed it was Assam that fired first, Assam Police claimed it was Mizoram Police that fired first. It became a case of "He said, She said". And with 6 fatalities on Assam's side and zero on Mizoram's side, it was easy to sway the public's opinion that Mizoram probably fired first.
There's a popular video of an Assam Policeman saying they were the ones who shot first, but even if we assume he was uttering that under duress due to the gunfire exchange, there are many videos including LIVE streams showing the first round of gunfire came from Assam's side.
If you're still not convinced, let me ask you this - Why would Mizoram Police fire first when their SP and his PSOs were right there with the Assam Police negotiating for a peaceful solution? They were talking with the Assam Police IG (a fact even confirmed by HBS tweet) surrounded by Assam Police when the gunfire exchange suddenly started.
Just think about this. Clear your mind of all biasness and ask yourself honestly - Does it make any sense for Mizoram Police to start shooting when their chief was among the target? The SP and his PSOs barely managed to escape with their lives by jumping into the forest as bullets from Mizoram's side whizzed past their heads.
In this scenario, it seems more likely that Mizoram Police had no other option but to return fire, even if that meant shooting their own SP in the crossfire.
Also remember that civilians from Vairengte side were everywhere on Mizoram's side. Mizoram Police definitely do not wish for them to be harmed in case of a firefight, hence bolstering the theory that they were not the ones who fired first.
However, if Assam refuses to admit to this, I personally feel that both Mizoram and Assam should just "agree to disagree" and move on. Arguing over "Who fired first?" is counter-productive if both sides are trying to reach reconciliation. Han Solo will agree to that.
Lie #5. "Assam has 6 fatalities while Mizoram has none, so Mizoram must be the aggressor".
This is poor logical reasoning. The loss of lives among Assam Police is truly regrettable and my utmost condolences to the families of the departed. May they Rest In Peace. Om Shanti. Inna Lillahi Wa Inna Layhi Raji'un.
They lost their precious lives while following orders, and I think that is the greatest honour one can achieve. Salute to the brave fallen.
However, to come to a conclusion that Mizoram must be the aggressor because of the deaths is flawed. Assam Police had higher casualties simply because Mizoram Police had a better tactical advantage as they were perched on a higher elevation. You can check Google Map or even visit the location to verify this.
Trust me, if the locations were reversed, Mizoram Police would be the side with more fatalities.
Lie #6. "Mizo civilians used sophisticated weapons".
This was one of the most popular conspiracies being floated right after the confrontation. Many Mizos suddenly found their old Facebook or Instagram photographs (where they were posing with guns) being shared by different Assam ministers and MLAs with the caption, "Why are Mizo civilians using sophisticated weapons?"
Some of the photos they shared were even as old as 2010, and many of the guns in the photos weren't even real. Families of such youngsters used as pawns in this dirty game are now taking legal actions against these politicians and "anonymous" users on Twitter.
Lie #7. "Mizos celebrated the killing of Assam Policemen".
This is the most serious and outright blatant lie of all. When HBS failed to convince the country that Mizoram was in the wrong, he changed the narrative to win the sympathies of the people by showing videos of the cheering Mizoram Police, exclaiming, "Look how they're celebrating the killing of Assam Policemen".
Nothing is cheaper than a man who takes advantage of the dead to further his own political agenda. Does this man even have a soul?
Mizoram Police and civilians were simply celebrating the fact that an "invading" force that started shooting at them (allegedly) had surrendered (white flag raised from CRPF outpost) and retreated. That was it. Nothing more, nothing less. It was indeed a call for jubilation, something that any of us would have done too.
Nobody celebrated the death of people. In fact, none of them even knew anybody had died at that time. The unfortunate news that there had been fatalities was announced only much later. HBS knew this, but decided to play dirty anyway to win the people's support.
And of course, this same question was asked again, or should I say screamed out, by none other than Arnab Goswami, another soulless creature. He didn't even give any of his panellist time to clarify this point and berated them continuously on air before cutting off their mics, as always. No surprises there.
I'll end this post for now and continue with this series in my next update, as there are new and crazy allegations against Mizoram every day. I've been staying and working at our farm since the lockdown as July is considered the last favourable month to plant crops. I only got back to Aizawl last night, so I couldn't write anything about this ongoing issue earlier.
And I haven't installed WhatsApp for more than a month now, so if anybody had messaged me during the past 2 months, please know that I'm not ignoring anyone or any group.
So I'll see you in my next update then. Let us continue to pray for peace for Mizoram and Assam. Once again, my utmost condolences to those who unfortunately lost their lives or injured in this operation. SI Swapan Kr. Roy, Cn Liton Suklabaidya, Cn M.H. Barbhuyia, Cn N. Hussain, Cn S. Barbhuiya, and Shyamprasad Dusat of 6th AP Bn. We'll remember your names and we are truly sorry for what had transpired. May Heaven grant you all a Hero's welcome.
Disclaimer: I'm not affiliated with any political party or organization in Mizoram and my thoughts are purely my own. My personal views do not represent the views of the people of Mizoram or the Government of Mizoram. At the end of the day, I'm just a simple farmer who loves the land of his forefathers.