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  4. Mizoram: NGOCC protest in Aizawl against scrapping of FMR, fencing India-Myanmar border

Mizoram: NGOCC protest in Aizawl against scrapping of FMR, fencing India-Myanmar border

NGOCC is a conglomerate of five major civil society organisations and student bodies headed by the Central Young Mizo Association (CYMA).

Arushi Jaiswal Edited By: Arushi Jaiswal @JaiswalArushi Aizawl Published on: February 21, 2024 22:19 IST
Representative image
Image Source : FILE PHOTO Representative image

Aizawl: A civil society group in Mizoram on Wednesday staged a peaceful demonstration in protest against the Centre's proposal to erect a fence along the India-Myanmar border and terminate the Free Movement Regime (FMR) with the neighbouring country.

The event, organized by the NGO Coordination Committee (NGOCC) in front of Vanapa Hall in central Aizawl, was attended by the lone Mizoram Rajya Sabha member K Vanlalvena and several legislators from both the ruling Zoram People's Movement (ZPM) and opposition parties. These legislators participated in the event during the recess of the ongoing budget session of the assembly.

Nay Lin Aung, a former MP from Myanmar's Mindat who is now in exile, along with other leaders from the neighbouring country who sought refuge in the northeastern state, were also observed among the protesters.

NGOCC is a coalition of five prominent civil society organizations and student bodies led by the Central Young Mizo Association (CYMA).

NGOCC opposed to the move to construct fence

Speaking at the rally, NGOCC chairman and CYMA president Lalhmachhuana the firm opposition of the Mizo people to the proposed construction of a fence along the India-Myanmar border, particularly in the Mizoram region. He also denounced the decision to abolish the Free Movement Regime (FMR), which allows ethnic kin from both sides of the border to travel up to 16 km into each other's territory without requiring a visa.

 

"The proposed border fencing alone will not solve the problems of arms smuggling, drug trafficking and infiltration the India-Bangladesh border is an example of that," Lalhmachhuana said, while urging the Centre to find an alternative solution.

He claimed that the proposal to erect a fence along the India-Myanmar border and abolish the Free Movement Regime (FMR) originated from a request by Manipur Chief Minister N Biren Singh. Lalhmachhuana asserted that Singh had associated the ongoing ethnic tensions in his state with "illegal immigration" from Myanmar, prompting the push for border fencing and the termination of the FMR.

"Should the Centre fulfill the aspiration of one person or respond to the cries of a larger section (of people)? Going by the aspiration of a single man is against the democratic principle of the country," the NGOCC chairman stated.

Lalhmachhuana said they have no issue if the Manipur government agrees to the fencing of its state's section of the India-Myanmar border. "But scrapping the FMR and fencing the Mizoram section is not acceptable as it is against the principle of India's Act East policy," he claimed.

NGOCC memorandum to Amit Shah 

Earlier, the NGOCC had sent a memorandum to Union Home Minister Amit Shah urging him to reconsider the decision to scrap the FMR and fence the India-Myanmar border.

Chief Minister Lalduhoma had earlier stated that his government strongly opposed the proposed fencing of the border and was in favour of retaining the FMR.

He had met Shah on two occasions in January and February and told him about Mizoram's stand on border fencing and lifting of the FMR.

He had said that he urged Shah to not fence the Mizoram section even if the Manipur side is fenced. Lalduhoma had expressed optimism that the Centre may not fence the 510-km-long Mizoram section of the India-Myanmar border.

Four Indian states -- Mizoram, Manipur, Nagaland and Arunachal Pradesh -- share a 1,643-km-long international border with Myanmar. The Mizos share ethnic ties with the Chins of Myanmar.

(With PTI inputs)

Also Read: Mizoram opposes fencing along Indo-Myanmar border: CM Lalduhoma

Also Read: Mizoram MP urges Amit Shah to reconsider decision to fence India-Myanmar border

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