Imphal, Aug. 29: A citizens’ group of Manipur has welcomed New Delhi’s initiative to form a joint working group of India and Myanmar to settle border issues.
The Centre’s move comes after the Committee on Protection of Land in Border Fencing objected to the way the border fence was being constructed by the Assam Rifles at Moreh in Chandel district. It said the fence was being constructed from 200m to 1km from the border.
According to reports, New Delhi has asked Myanmar to form a joint working group to address the issue. “We have, through our embassy in Yangon, suggested to Myanmar the setting up of a joint border working group to address the issue of demarcation,” external affairs ministry spokesperson Syed Akbaruddin is reported to have said.
The Centre was forced to take the initiative after Hollenphai village chief Lalkhulun Haokip reported to the authorities at Moreh about the Myanmar army’s recent attempt to “set up” a military post on the village land near border pillar No. 76, 3km from Moreh, claiming that the village belonged to Myanmar.
The construction of the post was stopped after police and officials of Moreh went to the village and spoke to the Myanmar army.
“We welcome the move for a joint working group. We also appreciate New Delhi for paying heed to the voice and sentiments of people in Manipur. We urge the external affairs ministry to take up the border demarcation task as early as possible,” the committee’s convener Brozendra Ningomba said. The committee, a conglomerate of citizen bodies, is spearheading the movement for re-survey of the border to end the dispute.
A high-power government committee, headed by principal secretary home Suresh Babu, visited Moreh on August 26 to inspect a 10km fence in the sector followed by governor Ashwani Kumar’s visit to the border town to meet leaders of the communities in the area the next day.
During his visit to Moreh the citizens’ committee requested him to start border demarcation work within a month or face peoples’ protest.