Tuesday, April 23, 2024

Mizoram, Nagaland assemblies pass resolution against Union’s move to fence India-Myanmar border

The Nagaland Assembly on Friday adopted a resolution urging the Union government to reconsider its decision to fence the Indo-Myanmar border and suspend the free movement regime with the neighbouring country. On Wednesday, the Mizoram Assembly had also adopted a similar resolution.

Last month, the Narendra Modi government said that it would end its free movement regime pact with Myanmar and seal the border between the two countries.

Since the 1970s, the free movement policy has enabled visa-free travel for individuals residing within 16 kilometers on either side of the 1,643-kilometer-long border between India and Myanmar, spanning Manipur, Mizoram, Nagaland, and Arunachal Pradesh. People can freely spend a day across the border without documentation, and stay up to 72 hours with valid permits issued by designated authorities from both sides. This arrangement was established to honor traditional social ties among border communities and to promote cross-border trade between related tribes on both sides.

The resolution in the Nagaland Assembly was moved by Deputy Chief Minister Y Patton on Friday.

The resolution said that suspending the regime would cause hardship and inconvenience to Nagas living in the border areas “as the traditional land holding system straddles across the international border in many areas.”

It said that people in the region have to cross the international border on a daily basis for their normal cultivation activities. “These measures will seriously disrupt the age-old historical, social, tribal, and economic ties of the Naga people living on both sides of the international border,” it added.

The resolution urged the Union government to work out regulations for free movement across the border in consultation with local communities and village council authorities.

Meanwhile, Manipur and Arunachal Pradesh governments had welcomed the Union government’s decision to terminate the free movement regime.

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