Myanmar border fencing, FMR likely to be discussed in upcoming Nagaland Assembly Session

Kohima, Feb 25 – The proposed fencing of the India-Myanmar border and the scrapping of the Free Movement Regime (FMR) between the two countries are likely to be discussed during the upcoming Budget Session of Nagaland Assembly, beginning on February 26, top sources said.

An official said that the five-day budget session of the Nagaland Assembly would start on February 26 and the border fencing and FMR issues are expected to be discussed as “matters of urgent public importance”.

Nagaland Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio had earlier said that both the fencing and FMR issues need to be discussed thoroughly before a final decision and the government has to take the opinion of the people to evolve a workable formula before their execution.

Almost all tribal bodies and civil society organisations in Nagaland, have strongly opposed the Centre’s recent announcement to fence the border and scrap the FMR.

The Ministers, politicians, tribal and civil society leaders argued that same ethnic tribal people are leaving both sides of the border while many people living along the bordering areas have farmlands on either side and the proposed fencing and the scrapping of FMR would create huge problems for the Naga people.

Meanwhile, the neighbouring Mizoram government and all the civil societies and NGOs in the state also strongly opposed both the fencing and the scrapping of FMR.

Chief Minister Lalduhoma, who earlier met Prime Minister, Union Home Minister and External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar and opposed both the fencing and the scrapping of FMR, which allowed citizens residing close to both sides of the border to move 16 km into each other’s territory without passport or visa.

Lalduhoma, who is also the President of the ruling ZPM, had earlier on a number of occasions stated that his government strongly opposed the proposed fencing of the border and was keen to retain the FMR.

After meeting the Union Home Minister for the second time earlier this month, he had expressed optimism that the Centre may not fence the Mizoram portion of the India-Myanmar border.

Four northeastern states — Mizoram, Manipur, Nagaland, and Arunachal Pradesh — share a 1,643-km-long border with Myanmar.

The Mizos of Mizoram share ethnic, traditional and cultural ties with the Zo-Chin community of Myanmar.

sc/pgh

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