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The Nagaland Assembly on Friday unanimously adopted a resolution urging the Centre to reconsider its decision to fence the India-Myanmar border and scrap the Free Movement Regime (FMR) between the two countries.

Deputy Chief Minister Yanthungo Patton introduced the resolution, which requested the Union Government to work out regulations for movement of people across the borders in close consultation with the people inhabiting the border areas, and for suitably bringing in the village council authorities concerned in the entire system of regulations.

The resolution said that proposed fencing and scrapping of the FMR will cause immense hardship and inconvenience, and also agony to the Naga people living in the India-Myanmar border areas due to the fact that the traditional land-holding system straddles the international border in many areas, and people have to cross it on a daily basis for 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. Now, therefore, in view of the special and unique situation, this house, hereby, resolves to request the Government of India to reconsider its decision, and to abandon the plan of suspending the FMR and fencing along the Indo-Myanmar border,” it said.

The FMR allowed citizens residing close to both sides of the border to move 16 km into each other’s territory without a passport or a visa.

Citing the vulnerability of the 1,643 km unfenced India-Myanmar border spanning Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur, Nagaland, and Mizoram and various threats, the Union government has decided to fence the entire border and to scrap the FMR. Of the four northeastern states, fencing has been started along the border in Manipur. So far, a 10-km-long stretch in Manipur’s Moreh has already been fenced, and works for another approximately 20 km along the state have also been sanctioned by the Union Home Ministry.