John Holiday - a 49 years old man, is being considered to be the epicenter of the land disputes at the Assam-Mizoram Border in Hailakandi. Although it sounds unusual, Ground Zero reporting is pointing towards the same fact. But who is Holiday and how is he related to the Assam-Mizoram Border disputes?
John Holiday is a resident of the capital city of Mizoram, Aizawl. This year in the month of May, Holiday initiated the construction of a guest house at Gutguti village near the Birisima Drain in Southern Hailakandi. However, the Assam Administration objected to the construction on 1st June, 2021. After the information about the construction of a guest house on the terrain of Assam had come forward, high level officials of the Forest Department and the Hailakandi Administration rushed to the spot. It was followed by a meeting between John Holiday and the officials. John informed the Commissioner of the Forest Department, J. D. Tripathi that he is not aware of constructing the guest house 50 metres inside the terrain of Assam along the Assam-Mizoram border. "Where the construction has taken place, is a land of mine and I am the legal owner. I have all the documents related to my ownership", said John; however, John could not produce valid documents.
Despite official documented conversation between Hailakandi's Deputy Commissioner, Rohan Jha and the Deputy Commissioner of Kolasib, Mizoram Government failed to produce ownership related documents.
It was after this incident of John Holiday that the Assam-Mizoram land disputes at Gutguti in Hailakandi district received momentum. Currently the Assam Police and the Mizoram Police have built bunkers on either side of the border. Asserting that John Holiday's guest House is completely illegal, the DFO of Hailakandi District said, "Crossing beyond the Birisima Drain, the guest house was built 50 metres inside the terrain of Assam." He added, "Under Bilaipur Police Station, in the Balicherra Inner Line Reserve Forest, 1800 hectares of land was cultivated with Rema. The Hailakandi Forest Department destroyed this illegal cultivation and started cultivating important commodities like Segun Trees in the area." He further asserted that no land is under the acquisition of the Mizo people in the region.