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regular-article-logo Tuesday, 16 April 2024

Nagaland government urges Centre to reconsider Free Movement Regime, Myanmar border-fencing plans

The resolution moved by Nagaland deputy chief minister Yanthungo Patton said the Modi government’s recent decision to suspend the FMR and also to fence the Indo-Myanmar border 'will cause immense hardship and inconvenience'

Umanand Jaiswal Guwahati Published 04.03.24, 07:33 AM
Yanthungo Patton in the Assembly on Friday

Yanthungo Patton in the Assembly on Friday PTI photo

The Nagaland Assembly on Friday passed a resolution, requesting the Centre to “reconsider its decision, and to abandon the plan of suspending the Free Movement Regime (FMR) and fencing along the Indo-Myanmar border”.

The resolution moved by Nagaland deputy chief minister Yanthungo Patton said the Centre’s recent decision to suspend the FMR and also to fence the Indo-Myanmar border “will cause immense hardship and inconvenience”.

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The resolution said the move will also cause “agony to the Naga people living in the Indo-Myanmar border areas due to the fact that the traditional land holding system straddles across the international border in many areas, and people have to cross the international border on a daily basis for their normal cultivation activities” and “seriously disrupt the age-old historical, social, tribal, and economic ties of the Naga people living on both sides of the international border”.

The FMR which allows people living near the international border to venture 16km into each other’s territory without any visa and a stay of up to two weeks.

The Nagaland Assembly is the second to have expressed its reservation over the Centre’s twin moves after Mizoram. Nagaland has a NDPP-BJP coalition government. Patton belongs to the BJP.

On Wednesday, the Mizoram Assembly unanimously adopted a resolution opposing the Centre’s decisions to scrap the FMR and fence the 510km stretch of international border falling in the state. Overall, the length of the largely porous Indo-Myanmar border is 1,643km.

The Nagaland Assembly also resolved to request the Centre “to work out regulations for the movement of people across the borders in close consultation with the people inhabiting the border areas, and for suitably bringing in the village council authorities concerned in the entire system of regulations.”

Union home minister Amit Shah had said in February that the MHA decided to scrap the FMR to ensure the internal security of the country and to maintain the demographic structure of northeastern states bordering Myanmar.

The influx from Myanmar is said to be one of the key reasons for the ongoing ethnic conflict in Manipur which has welcomed the twin decisions.

Nagaland shares a 215km border with Myanmar which shares borders with four Indian states, including Manipur, Mizoram and Arunachal Pradesh.

“Now, therefore, in view of the special and unique situation mentioned above, this House, hereby, resolves to request the Government of India to reconsider its decision, and to abandon the plan of suspending the FMR and fencing along the Indo-Myanmar border,” the Nagaland Assembly resolution said.

On Wednesday, Mizoram home minister K. Sapdanga had said: “We do not want the lifting of the FMR and fencing of Mizoram-Myanmar border and appeal to the Centre not to go ahead with it.” He urged the Centre to “unite” the ethnic Mizos living on both sides of the international border.

The Mizos and Kukis share the same ethnicity as Chin people in Myanmar. The border, demarcated by the British for administrative reasons, divided the people belonging to the same stock with many having family ties.

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