Shah applauded the Assam Police for fighting against different issues including infiltration and drug smuggling….reports Asian Lite News
Union Home Minister Amit Shah on Saturday said that the Indo-Myanmar border will be fenced like the Indo-Bangladesh border to curb the influx of illegal migrants and insurgents.
Addressing the passing out parade ceremony of Assam Police Commandos, Shah said, ” Indo-Myanmar border is to be fenced like the Indo-Bangladesh border. The Centre, under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, has decided to fence the Indo-Myanmar border to curb the influx of illegal migrants and insurgents.”
“We are also thinking of ending the free-movement facility with Myanmar,” Shah added.
Shah applauded the Assam Police for fighting against different issues including infiltration and drug smuggling.
“Assam has always been affected by infiltration issues that have been going on for 10 decades, Bangladesh Liberation War of 1971, drug smuggling, etc., but Assam Police has a glorious history of fighting and winning against these issues,” he said.
The Union Minister also launched a scathing attack on the Congress’s Bharat Jodo Nyay Yatra and said that people who lost their family members due to insurgency in Congress rule are opposing the yatra.
“Rahul Gandhi has launched Bharat Jodo Nyay Yatra recently, I asked a few media personnel here today, what happened in Assam. During Congress rule, thousands of youths lost their lives, extremism prevailed in Assam. The family members of those people who lost lives during Congress rule objected to Congress Yatra and demanded justice,” Shah said.
Meanwhile, the 1,643-km-long India-Myanmar border, spanning Mizoram, Manipur, Nagaland, and Arunachal Pradesh, currently operates under the Free Movement Regime (FMR), permits individuals living near the India-Myanmar border to travel 16 km into each other’s territories without a visa. Initiated in 2018, the FMR policy was a component of India’s Act East policy.
As per FMR policy, those belonging to the hill tribes, being citizens of either India or Myanmar and residing within a 16 km radius on either side of the border, can cross with a border pass valid for one year, allowing a stay of up to two weeks per visit.
Allegations claim that following the military coup in Myanmar on February 1, 2021, a considerable number of Myanmar’s tribal population crossed into India, particularly Manipur and Mizoram, and remained illegally. It’s alleged that these individuals sought refuge on Indian territory and subsequently engaged in unlawful activities, notably drug smuggling.
In September 2023, Manipur Chief Minister N Biren Singh appealed to the Centre to terminate the FMR. The state government contends that insurgents exploit this regime to advance their activities.
Manipur shares approximately 390 km of a porous border with Myanmar, with only about 10 km fenced as of now. In July last year, the state government disclosed data indicating that approximately 700 illegal immigrants had entered the state.
Additionally, following the military coup in Myanmar on February 1, 2021, Mizoram has witnessed an influx of thousands of anti-Junta rebels. Government estimates suggest that several thousand refugees have settled in various parts of Mizoram since the coup.
Mizoram has a porous border spanning 510 kilometres with Myanmar.
The Manipur Chief Minister mentioned incidents where individuals from Myanmar attempted to enter his state but retreated upon encountering a substantial presence of security personnel. Manipur shares a 398-kilometer border with Myanmar.
Arunachal Pradesh shares a 520-kilometer border with Myanmar, whereas Nagaland’s border with the country spans 215 kilometres. (ANI)
Mizoram CM opposes Centre’s move
Mizoram Chief Minister Lalduhoma on Saturday opposed Union Home Minister Amit Shah’s announcement to fence the India-Myanmar border and reconsider the existing Free Movement Regime (FMR) between the two countries.
The Mizoram CM, hours after the Home Minister’s announcement, said in Aizawl, that his government does not have the authority to stop the Central government from erecting border fencing along the India-Myanmar border and scrapping the FMR but the state government would oppose both the move.
Lalduhoma said that the border with Myanmar in Mizoram was “unilaterally imposed” by the British without consulting the people and the Mizo-Zo-Chin community people living on both sides of the border do not accept the boundary.
“If the Central government fences the India-Myanmar border and withdraws the FMR, the state government has no authority to prevent it and we only can oppose the steps,” the Chief Minister told the media.
The Union Home Minister while addressing the passing-out parade of 2,551 commandos of Assam Police in Guwahati on Saturday said that Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led government has decided that India-Myanmar border would also be fenced on the lines of India-Bangladesh border.
He said that the Central government has been re-considering the existing agreement between Myanmar and India for free movement.
The FMR allows citizens residing close to both sides of the border to move 16 km into each other’s territory without passport or visa. Lalduhoma said that Mizoram government and different other organisations in the state were opposed to the fencing of the India-Myanmar border and scrapping of the FMR as Mizos of Mizoram share similar ethnic and cultural ties with the people of the Chin-Zo community in Myanmar.
The Chief Minister said that during his last month’s visit to Delhi, he had discussed both the fencing and the FMR issues with PM Modi, Home Minister Shah and External Affairs Minister, S. Jaishankar, and they did not oppose his appeal on both the issues. Around 32,000 people from Myanmar, mostly from the Chin state, have taken refuge in Mizoram following the military coup in the neighbouring country in February 2021.
Mizoram’s most influential civil society organisation Young Mizo Association (CYMA) and the state’s students’ body Mizo Zirlai Pawl (MZP) have also been opposing the Centre’s decision to fence the border and scrap the FMR.
Manipur Chief Minister N. Biren Singh, however, had earlier requested the Union Home Ministry to cancel the FMR and fence the India-Myanmar with Manipur.