Amidst the controversial decision by the Centre to abolish the Free Movement Regime (FMR) with Myanmar by ‘smart fencing’ the Indo-Myanmar border, the Naga student body of Myanmar, Eastern Naga Students’ Association (ENSA) has weighed in condemning the decision.
According to ENSA, the concept of Free Movement Regime (FMR) introduced by India and Myanmar is “alien to the Nagas, who, for time immemorial, have traversed mountains, ridges, and rivers without the imposition of boundaries”.
It reminded that the arbitrary boundary drawn by Jawaharlal Nehru and U Nu within Naga territory was executed without Naga consent against all the established human rights standards, which notably is exemplified by the division of Longwa Angh’s kitchen.
The ENSA reminded that neither India nor Burma has the right to dictate the future of the Nagas or impose boundaries in Naga soil. This was stated in an official press statement.
“Naga people, as indigenous inhabitants, do not view themselves as slaves, refugees, or foreigners on their own soil, which spans Naga’s inhabited lands and regions,” the ENSA stated.
The ENSA expressed profound shock and deep concern over Centre’s decision to suspend the Free Movement Regime (FMR) along the India-Myanmar border.
“Equally disconcerting is the alignment of certain Naga politicians with their central leadership, a stance that, regrettably, lacks respect and integrity towards the Naga people residing across the imposed boundary for centuries,” the ENSA added.
While a few Naga politicians may voice support for the GoI’s decision to suspend FMR, the ENSA emphasized that such sentiments do not reflect the broader consensus of the Naga community.
“Threats and intimidation towards innocent, peace-loving people do not offer solutions; rather, they exacerbate existing issues.
“The alleged suspension of FMR on the grounds of countering drug trafficking and illegal activities is deemed a feeble pretext, concealing Delhi’s hidden agenda against the Nagas,” it alleged, while adding that this justification only undermines the commendable efforts of Naga individuals across the border addressing these issues without the support of India and Myanmar.
The ENSA has therefore urged “the GoI to engage in meaningful dialogue with common Naga leaders, politicians, civil society organizations (CSOs), and all stakeholders.”
“This approach is essential for preserving peace and stability in the border areas without jeopardizing the lives and aspirations of the Naga people, who are united as one,” it added.
The Konyak Union Myanmar, on behalf of the entire Konyak village resident in the borderline of India and Myanmar has also in a letter to ENPO President, requested ENPO to reject movement of fencing and to restore the FMR on either side of the borderline of humanitarian ground.
It also said that “installing smart fencing in the borderline will not be “acceptable” and will bring “ugly situation” in the border village in a general Naga area.
The Konyak Union Myanmar also highlighted how the entire Konyak community, sharing the same blood relations, unfortunately resides beyond the artificial boundary demarcation.
“India and Myanmar have drawn the borderline between the families without the knowledge of Konyak Naga,” it added.