As darkness enveloped the one-street town of Lailapur on the evening of November 11, the trucks roared to life. They were finally good to go after being stranded for nearly two weeks. Loud, excited chatter rose from the hundreds who had gathered to see them off.

Since October 29, scores of vehicles headed to Mizoram, many of them ferrying essential goods to the hill state, had been grounded along National Highway-54 at Lailapur, courtesy a road blockade by its residents. The town is part of South Assam’s Cachar district. It lies along the Assam-Mizoram boundary, where tensions have flared up since early October.

After a controversial “eviction drive” by the Assam government, violent clashes, an alleged abduction that culminated in a custodial death in Mizoram, the bombing of two schools in the dead of the night and a blockade that lasted for the better part of three weeks, a relative calm was descending.

The Centre mediated a truce between the two warring states on November 8. The residents of Lailapur finally lifted the blockade on November 11. But it was a conditional peace.

The blockade had led to a severe shortage of essentials in Mizoram – the NH-54 is the state’s only reliable road connection to the rest of...

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