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Mizoram protests Centre's move to fence India-Myanmar border

The peaceful rallies, organisation by the Zo Re-Unification Organisation (Zoro), resonated across Zokhawthar and Vaphai villages, nestled on the Mizoram-Myanmar border. 

News Arena Network - Aizawl - UPDATED: May 16, 2024, 01:23 AM - 3 mins read

A pictorial description of Centre's Indo-Myanmar border plan and its proposal to fence the India-Myanmar border, putting halt to the Free Movement Regime (FMR).

Mizoram protests Centre's move to fence India-Myanmar border

A pictorial description of Centre's Indo-Myanmar border plan and its proposal to fence the India-Myanmar border, putting halt to the Free Movement Regime (FMR).


Thousands thronged the streets of Mizoram on Thursday in a protest against the central government's plan to fence the India-Myanmar border and put to halt the Free Movement Regime (FMR). 

 

The peaceful rallies, organisation by the Zo Re-Unification Organisation (Zoro), resonated across Zokhawthar and Vaphai villages, nestled on the Mizoram-Myanmar border. 

 

Notably, a significant number of participants hailed from Myanmar itself, highlighting the deep ethnic ties that transcend the boundaries drawn on a map.

 

Zoro, a Mizo organisation, champions the reunification of Zo Re-Unification Organisation tribes scattered across India, Bangladesh, and Myanmar under a unified administration. 

 

The rally in Vaphai began at 7 am and ended around 10 am while another procession in Zokhawthar, where the India-Myanmar Friendship Gate is located, commenced at 11 am and is underway, Zoro general secretary L Ramdinliana Renthlei said.

 

"Thousands of people took to the streets in Vaphai while around 7,000 protestors participated in the Zokhawthar rally. Hundreds of people from Myanmar took part in the two rallies, while several could not enter India as the authorities concerned had to close the Friendship Gate to prevent any untoward incident," he said.

 

Across the India-Myanmar Friendship Gate in Zokhawthar, people waved at each other and raised slogans against the Indian government's decision to scrap the free movement regime and fence the international border between the two countries.

 

Protesters also held placards and banners, demanding the continuation of free movement in border areas and asserted that they belong to the Zo ethnic group and have been living together for ages.

 

The free movement regime (FMR) allows people to cross up to 16 km on both sides of the international border.

 

Mizoram shares a 510-km-long border with Myanmar's Chin state and the Mizos share ethnic ties with people belonging to the Chin community.

All government offices and schools in the two villages remained closed on Thursday, Renthlei said.

 

He claimed that such a protest was also held in Manipur's Tengnoupal district.

 

"Rallies are peaceful and there is no law and order issue so far," a senior police officer said.

 

The protesters demanded that the Centre must review its decision to fence the India-Myanmar border and scrap the FMR with the neighbouring country, Renthlei said.

 

More than 34,000 people from the Chin state of Myanmar are currently taking shelter in different parts of Mizoram, according to the state home department.

 

The Chin people fled their homes following a military coup in the neighbouring country in February 2021.

 

The Mizoram government, civil society organisations and student bodies have strongly opposed the Centre's decision to fence the India-Myanmar border and lift the FMR because they believe that it will "disturb" close contact between ethnic communities of the two countries.

 

The Mizoram assembly had on February 28 passed a resolution, opposing the Centre's decision to fence the India-Myanmar border and abolish the FMR. 

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