A tribal organisation in Manipur’s Churachandpur district said it will “oppose” the Centre’s decision to fence the Indo-Myanmar border. Indigenous Tribal Leaders Forum (ITLF) held a public consultation in the district headquarters town on Saturday where it was resolved to “oppose” the Centre’s decision to fence the Indo-Myanmar border and to cancel the Free Movement Regime, a statement issued by ITLF said.

The Free Movement Regime allows people living on both sides of the border to travel 16 km into each other’s territory without a visa. Four Indian states — Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland, Manipur and Mizoram, share a 1,643-km-long border with Myanmar.

The statement said the ITLF also decided to approach the Mizoram government for the “political future of Kuki Zo people”.

More than 31,000 people from Myanmar, mostly from the Chin state, have taken refuge in Mizoram following the military coup in the neighbouring country in February 2021. Many also took shelter in Manipur.

Union Home Minister Amit Shah on January 20 said in Guwahati that the government will end the free movement of people at the India-Myanmar border, and fence it completely so that it can be protected like the country’s boundary with Bangladesh.