| The Manipur-Myanmar border. File picture |
Imphal, Dec. 24: Myanmar citizens today took out a procession near the international border to protest Manipur’s construction of an integrated checkpost at the border town of Moreh, claiming that the site is within Myanmar’s territory.
The rally was jointly organised by Tamu Youth Network and Superior Youth Network of Tamu town. About 300 people marched along a road connecting Moreh and Tamu town of Myanmar.
The protesters assembled at Namphalong market, a trade hub just across Moreh town and 109km south of Imphal, and started the march at 8.30am, sources at Moreh said.
In view of the rally, Myanmar authorities suspended border trade at Moreh for five hours from 7am, when the border checkpost is usually opened for trading activities between the two sides.
The border trade started at noon today after the rally was over, the sources said.
Myanmar authorities have been claiming that the land where the checkpost is being constructed is within their territory.
Today’s rally came a fortnight after the Myanmar authorities wrote to their Indian counterparts demanding a halt to the construction at a site located in between border gate numbers 1 and 2.
The two youth organisations issued leaflets during the march, urging the Indian authorities “not to break friendly relations between India and Myanmar and respect the international laws”.
The leaflets also said no one could encroach upon the territory of Myanmar.
Security agencies on both sides sealed the international border at Moreh during the rally to prevent any unwanted incident, police deployed at Moreh said.
Official sources said Myanmar authorities did not make any attempt to stop the rally, which came at a time when Delhi is reportedly preparing to hold a joint demarcation of the 350km-long Manipur-Myanmar border to resolve the dispute.
The Centre decided to re-demarcate the border after it sent an official team to Moreh on December 7 to take stock of the border dispute and also the construction of a border fence by the Union home ministry at Moreh.
The central team’s visit materialised after a political delegation led by Manipur chief minister Okram Ibobi Singh met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Union home minister Shushil Kumar Shinde to urge them to conduct a joint survey to demarcate the Manipur sector of the international border.
Myanmar is claiming Hollenphai, a Kuki village along the border near Moreh, as its territory.