| A jawan patrols the India-Myanmar border. File picture |
Imphal, Aug. 20: Public outcry against the ongoing construction of fences along India-Myanmar border in Manipur’s Chandel district is getting shriller with NGOs preparing to approach international organisations if the people’s voice is not heard by New Delhi.
A daylong discussion on border fencing in Chandel district today cautioned the Centre that if the demand for construction of the fence in adherence to international norms after resurvey of the border is not heeded to, NGOs of Manipur will urge the United Nations, European Union and powerful countries to intervene.
The discussion was organised by United NGO Mission Manipur, a conglomerate of NGOs, in the state. It was organised after a fact-finding team of NGO Mission made an on-the-spot assessment of the border fences a few days back.
The Assam Rifles is constructing a barbed wire fence along a 10km stretch in the Moreh sector of the more than 350km Manipur-Myanmar border for security reasons.
Villagers residing along the border, political parties including Trinamul Congress, Manipur People’s Party besides the CPI, and people’s organisations, including United Committee Manipur, Information Centre for Hill Areas of Manipur and Naga Village Chiefs’ Association have been objecting to ongoing construction of border fences much inside Manipur’s land.
International practice is that 10 metres across either side of the border are considered a no-construction zone and the border fence should be constructed beyond this, official sources here said.
The objections have been raised because the present border fence construction is done at distances ranging from 200 metres to 1km from the zero line, villagers and NGOs claimed.
Many villages will be bifurcated by the fences and there are apprehensions that India could give away land beyond the fences to Myanmar.
“New Delhi has never taken interest in the loss of Manipur’s land. To please Myanmar it will not mind giving away some land to the neighbouring country. All the three major communities — Meiteis, Kukis and Nagas should join hands and fight to protect Manipur’s land,” Dhanabir Laishram, a social scientist, said during today’s discussion.
Senior visiting fellow (geography) in Manipur University, R.K. Ranjan Singh, also called for a united struggle to shift the present border fence and construction in adherence to international norms.
“We have resolved to draw immediate attention of the Prime Minister, home minister, external affairs and DoNER ministers to the ongoing fence construction. We also demand monitoring of the construction by an international fact-finding body,” U. Nobokishore, secretary of NGO Mission, said.