Assam – Mizoram Dispute.

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News: The situation turned violent in the North-eastern part of India along the Assam – Mizoram Border area due to the age-old boundary dispute between the two states. The conflict dates back to the colonial era where one party (Mizoram) agrees with the 1875 agreement whereas the other (Assam) with the 1933 agreement. Read more here.

For UPSC Preparation:-


It’s interesting to note, most of the North-Eastern states are carved out of Assam. The states like Mizoram, Arunachal Pradesh, Meghalaya, and Nagaland were all part of the undivided Assam since India’s independence until 1963. Moreover, Shillong was the capital of this undivided Assam (which is now the capital of Meghalaya).

The area dispute between the two states has its roots when Assam was not a divided state. If you analyze the population and culture of people of the North-Eastern states and compare it with the population of mainland INDIA, it’s very easy to see the difference. The people of the northeast have a distinct culture and follow a different religion compared to that of the majority Indian population. This difference is due to their habitat in the hilly region and the government’s (prior as well as current) inability to integrate them with the masses, who live in plain areas.

Assam is the only North-Eastern state to border all the sister N-E States along with West Bengal and also shares India’s International border with Bangladesh and Bhutan.

There has always been a debate on whether the Scheduled tribes be integrated with the majority population and dilute their culture and practices with the ones followed by mainland Indians, in order to provide them with education and employment opportunities. Or should we preserve the northeastern distinct culture and provide protection to their practices with the least government interference. The previous government policies indicate that India has adopted the latter.

The Conflict between Assam and Mizoram:

Mizoram i.e the land of the Mizos was separated from Assam in 1972 when it was administered as a Union Territory and finally in 1987 it earned its statehood. This Mizoram was known as the Lushai Hills District before it was renamed the Mizo Hills District in 1954. (It’s a common practice that newly carved regions are first given the status of a Union Territory and once the government is satisfied with the optimal functioning of the administration, the region is granted statehood. for eg Arunachal Pradesh).

The Mizos and the Assamese, due to their differing cultures, practices and habitat were at loggerheads since the colonial era when the Britishers first tried to dilute the region in order to gain profit from the tea cultivation in these hilly regions. Moreover, it’s at this point where the British Government introduced the Inner-line Permit system by which the tribal population would restrict the entry of outsiders into their areas.

Hence, in order to curb the violent clashes, the two parties signed an agreement brokered by the British in 1875. This agreement differentiated Lushai hills from the plains of Cachar in the Barak Valley of Assam. The notification of this demarcation was done in presence of the Mizo chiefs and the Assamese representatives.

However, the British government released another notification in 1933, which demarketed a boundary between Lushai Hills and Manipur as the map of Mizoram was redrawn and the Cachar-Mizoram boundary was then dissolved. But, the Mizos say that this 1933 demarcation was not done after consulting the Mizo chiefs and hence won’t be acceptable to the people of Mizoram.

Mizoram believes the boundary should be demarcated on the basis of the 1875 notification, which is derived from the Bengal Eastern Frontier Regulation (BEFR) Act, 1873. Out of this 1875 and 1933 demarcation, the latter (1933) is the point of contention that has seen heated debates but it’s the first time now that violence was witnessed at the borders.

For UPSC Prelims:

  1. Locate Assam and Mizoram on the Map of India, along with thier borders with neighbouring states and international borders. Assam borders Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland, Manipur, Mizoram, Meghalaya, Tripura, and West Bengal; and Bhutan and Bangladesh. Mizoram borders Tripura, Assam, Manipur and shares international border with Mynamar and Bangladesh.
  2. Study the physical map of northeast India with emphasis on hills and rivers particularly covering Assam and Mizoram.
  3. Few Mcqs:

Consider the following statements with reference to Assam Accord:

  1. It is a bilateral accord signed between the Government of India, and State Government of Assam
  2. It sets a cut-off of midnight of 24th March 1971, for the detection of illegal foreigners in Assam.

Which of the above statement is/are not correct?

(a) 1 only

(b) 2 only

(c) Both 1 and 2 

(d) Neither 1 nor 2

Ans: a

Which of the following statement is not true about the Sixth Schedule?

(a) It relates to special provisions in the administration of certain Northeastern states.

(b) It relates to special provisions in the administration of certain Northeastern states.

(c) Entire state of Meghalaya is covered under the ILP regime, protected from CAB.

(d) Manipur is the newest state to be included in the ILP regime.

Ans: c

Consider the following statements:
1. The Governor of Arunachal Pradesh shall have special responsibility for law and order in the state.
2. The Arunachal Pradesh Legislative Assembly is to consist of not less than 40 members.
Which of the statements given above is/are correct?

Only 1

Only 2

Both 1 and 2

Neither 1 nor 2

Ans : (a) only 1

The Acts of Parliament relating to the following matters would not apply to Nagaland unless the State Legislative Assembly so decides:
1. Religious or social practices of the Nagas
2. Naga customary law and procedure
3. Administration of civil and criminal justice involving decisions according to Naga customary law
4. Ownership and transfer of land and its resources
Which of the statements given above is/are correct?

2 and 3

1 and 2

1, 2, 3 and 4

3 and 4

Ans: (c) 1,2,3,and 4

For UPSC Mains:

Discuss the borders issues between Assam and Mizoram. What steps are taken? Here mention 1875, 1933 agreement; write how British profit-making policies is the root cause of major boundary dispute not just in Assam-Mizoram but also other states like Assam and Nagaland, India and Pakistan, etc. Give a mention of the Bengal Eastern Frontier Regulation (BEFR) Act, 1873.
Why are there violent boundary disputes within India though anyone can settle in any part of the country? Here mention of India’s Unitary Bias along with its federal architecture where States also have a say in policymaking and boundary demarcation. Mention Issues of land disputes, river water sharing disputes eg Maharashtra- Karnataka. Also, list down the various tribunals.
Why is North-Eastern India not fully integrated with the mainland? Here you can write about the topography, hilly region, culture, language barrier, difficult terrain to show why there has been slow progress in amalgamating the N-E with the rest of India. You should give the way forward like introducing Northeastern people and the sports heroes in the school curriculum, introducing N-E culture to the masses rather than negating their practices.


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