Nagaland Assembly discuss Indo-Myanmar border; Zeliang, Patton propose strong resolution against fence, FMR

Kohima: Zeliang suggests like-minded State govts in NE India collectively approach GoI for reconsideration of its decision to abrogate FMR

BY | Thursday, 29 February, 2024

Deputy Chief Ministers of Nagaland, TR Zeliang and Yanthungo Patton, have on Thursday strongly opposed Government of India’s decision to fence the Indo-Myanmar border and scrapping of Free Movement Regime and proposed the 14th NLA to pass a strong resolution in this matter.

Deputy Chief Minister Y Patton, delivering the concluding remarks on matters of urgent public importance pertaining to “Fencing of Indo-Myanmar Border” on the third day of the 14th NLA Session, highlighted that suspension of Free Movement Regime and fencing of the border will lead to serious disruption of the social, tribal and economic ties of the indigenous people living in the border areas as well as denying access to their ancestral lands.

“We all know that the boundaries that divide us are not the natural boundaries but man-made,” added Patton and extended his support in passing a resolution in the August House.

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He pointed out that communities living in both sides of the international border have the same language, culture, custom, traditional practiced and land holding system. The recent announcement of GoI to suspend FMR and also to construct a fence along the entire border with Myanmar has expectedly caused deep concern and anxiety among our people, the Deputy CM added.

Patton informed that the State government has conveyed its deep concern to the GoI and sincerely requested for the sake of the Naga people to continue with FMR and also to work out regulations for movement of people across the borders in close consultations with the people in habitations the border areas, and for bringing in the village Councils in the entire system of regulations.

He concluded by stating that the Nagaland government remains committed to continue pursuing for an early and favourable response of the GoI to their pleas in regard to FMR.

Meanwhile, Deputy Chief Minister TR Zeliang pointed out that the idea of Government of India Act East policy which intends to improve trade and communications across the Indo-Myanmar border would be defeated if boundary fencing is given the go-ahead.

Zeliang said this while participating in the discussion.

Zeliang noted this as a serious issue for the Naga people and urged the 14th NLA to pass a strong resolution of opposition and convey to the Government of India the feeling of the Naga people who are vehemently opposing the construction of border-fencing along the Indo-Myanmar boundary bordering Nagaland.

Zeliang, opined that the Free Movement Regime (FMR) which aims to facilitate local border trade, improve access to education and healthcare for border residents, and strengthen diplomatic ties must neither be scrapped nor modified without taking the grassroot populace into confidence.

“As we know, under FMR, cross-border movement is permitted up to 16 Kms without a visa but the idea of fencing the Indo-Myanmar Border and to scrap even this prevailing privilege will antagonise the Naga people because for the Naga people; the desire to bond and connect, to prosper and to live together as one people is a legitimate right,” added Zeliang.

He also suggested that like-minded State Governments in North-East India may collectively approach the Government of India for reconsideration of its decision to abrogate FMR.

Further, he stated that the unilateral decision to impose its arbitrary decision to divide the Naga people by constructing border fencings may have deep negative impact in the days to come and called upon the Government of India to develop a comprehensive and balanced approach for border management.

Members of the August House also echoed the same voice to pass a resolution opposing GoI’s decision on FMR.

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