Representatives of the All Naga Students’ Association, Manipur (ANSAM), including its president M Luikang Luckson and six others, met with Manipur Governor Anusuiya Uikey at Raj Bhawan, Imphal on Thursday. During the meeting, ANSAM submitted a memorandum through the governor to Union Home Minister Amit Shah, urging the reversal of the decision to scrap the Free Movement Regime (FMR) along the Indo-Myanmar border.

ANSAM Naga Manipur

Governor Uikey assured the ANSAM representatives that she would forward their proposal to the Union Home Minister and discuss the matter with him. The memorandum, signed by ANSAM’s president M Luikang Luckson and Angteshang Maring, expressed concern over the scrapping of FMR, stating that it had alleviated hardship and enhanced livelihood along the border since its introduction in 2018.

ANSAM stated that the reintroduction of FMR allowing the tribal people living along the border to travel upto 16 km on either side of the boundary without a visa during 2018 under the Modi-led BJP regime was a welcome step that has alleviated the hardship and enhanced the livelihood of the people residing along the border. But the decision to scrap FMR on the pretext of illegal immigrants and insurgencies has shocked the people along the border, it said.

The apex student body of the Nagas in Manipur argued that historically, the Indo-Myanmar Border was imposed without the consent of the affected tribal populace, leading to enduring historical injustice. The memorandum emphasized the interconnectedness of physical, ethnic, linguistic, cultural, and fraternal ties across the border. ANSAM cautioned that fencing the border would impact biodiversity and ecosystem, leading to both human and ecological crises.

“As such, this representation demands review and reinstatement of FMR to avert the ignition of the strong spark of Civil Unrest in the North Eastern States of India,” cautioned the ANSAM.

While acknowledging India’s concern over illegal immigrants, ANSAM suggested alternative mechanisms such as strict implementation of Inner Line Permit (ILP), National Registration of Citizen (NRC) updation, and the constitution of a Population Commission. Scrapping FMR, according to ANSAM, would disrupt traditional ties, violate human rights, and contradict India’s commitment to the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples 2007 “wherein Article 36 recognizes the rights of Indigenous peoples divided by international borders to maintain and develop contacts with their peoples across the border, particularly for spiritual, cultural and economic purposes.”

ANSAM also expressed its concern about the ongoing unrest in Manipur as it also affects the Naga people. They said the Centre and the state government should solve the issue at the earliest and requested the Governor to put forward their concerns to the Union Home Minister.

MTNews Desk

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