AIZAWL: Opposition to the Centre’s plan to fence the 1,643 km India-Myanmar border and abolish the Free Movement Regime (FMR) has grown stronger, with states such as Nagaland and Mizoram raising their voices against it.
Despite admitting that it is not in his goverment’s power to halt the Centre’s move, Mizoram Chief Minister Lalduhoma met with Union Home Minister Amit Shah to discuss these pressing issues in the national capital on February 10, .
The meeting reportedly revolved around the pressing issues surrounding the India-Myanmar border fencing and the shelter of Myanmar refugees in the state.
Lalduhoma has been consistently stressing that the current border demarcation between Mizoram and Myanmar was imposed by the British without local consent, underscoring the necessity for reconsideration.
He has also been reiterating Mizoram’s open-arms policy towards Myanmar refugees, especially those of the Chin-Zo ethnic tribe, who share deep ethnic and cultural bonds with Mizos.
Notably, Nagaland Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio also echoed this sentiment a day before the meeting, stating that both the government and the public oppose the abolition of the Free Movement Regime (FMR), on February 9.
“We have listened to the public’s voice, and that’s why the state government does not support lifting the FMR, and we are actively addressing it,” Rio stated to the press at an event in Chümoukedima.
Various organisations in both the states, including the influential Young Mizo Association (YMA) and the Senior Citizens Association of Nagaland (SCAN), to have expressed their opposition to the Centre’s plans.
The FMR, which allowed border residents to travel 16 km into each other’s territory without passports or visas, has long been a respected agreement.
Additionally, Mizoram’s only Rajya Sabha member, K Vanlalvena, has objected to the Centre’s decision to fence the India-Myanmar border, citing concerns about potential hardships for Mizoram residents and the loss of valuable fishing grounds and agricultural land.