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Fencing the border with Myanmar not acceptable: Mizoram NGOs to Centre

Members of NGO Coordination Committee staged a protest at Aizawl in which leaders of the organisations talked against the move saying the same would 'further divide' the communities.
Last Updated 21 February 2024, 15:33 IST

Guwahati: Five influential Non-Government Organisations (NGOs) in Mizoram on Wednesday resolved to intensify agitation against the Centre's decision to fence the 1,643kms border with Myanmar saying the same is unacceptable to the communities living on both sides of the border.

Members of NGO Coordination Committee staged a protest at Aizawl in which leaders of the organisations talked against the move saying the same would "further divide" the communities. They also opposed the Centre's decision to end the Free Movement Regime (FMR) that allowed communities to travel within 16kms both sides without visa.

"Don't fence the border, don't divide people," read some of the placards as the protesters staged a demonstration at Aizawl.

The NGO Coordination Committee comprises entities like the Central Young Mizo Association, Mizo Students' Union, Mizo Zirlai Pawl, Mizo Women's Front and Mizo Elders Association.

Some of the leaders suggested that the 510kms stretch of the border in Mizoram should be exempted as the same would affect people belonging to the Zo communities more. The committee earlier met Mizoram CM Lalduhoma urging him to impress upon the Centre to exempt the stretch in Mizoram.

They blamed Manipur CM N. Biren Singh's consistent demand to fence the border prompting the Centre to take the decision. Singh told Home Minister Amit Shah that the border with Myanmar should be fenced and the FMR be scrapped as insurgents and smugglers based out in Myanmar were carrying out "anti-India activities" using the open borders.

Home Minister Amit Shah also said that the border with Myanmar would be fenced on the lines of the border with Bangladesh. The Centre also suspended the FMR.

But Shah's decision triggered outrage, mainly among the Nagas, Mizos and Kukis. Mizoram CM Lalduhoma and his Nagaland counterpart Neiphiu Rio also conveyed their reservation about the decision. Meiteis, who are in majority in Manipur, however, welcomed the Centre's decision saying the open border aided the "Kuki narco terrorists" in the ongoing conflict in Manipur since May last year.

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(Published 21 February 2024, 15:33 IST)

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