TODAY -

More points need to be highlighted : Beyond scrapping FMR
- The Sangai Express Editorial :: February 09, 2024 -



Logical follow on and one has to certainly give it to the BJP led Government at Delhi.

Back on January 20, Union Home Minister Amit Shah had announced that the Centre would work towards lifting the Free Movement Regime on the Indo-Myanmar border.

A regime which allows movement upto 16 kms on either side of the international border without passports and other paper works.

Now fast forward to February 8, 2024 and the Government of India has decided to scrap the free movement regime with immediate effect.

That this has come despite the stiff opposition raised by some, particularly the Nagas and the Kuki-Zos makes it all that more striking.

Secure border, this is the slogan that has been raised and while the reasoning of New Delhi may revolve around the understanding of these two words slogan, to Manipur it could mean hammering one more nail in the coffin of the narco-terrorists, who have been crossing the border at will and playing havoc with the lives of the indigenous people of Manipur.

It should also be clear, very clear that this cannot be the final answer to the ongoing turmoil.

The most one can read into the new development is the line ‘one more step towards neutralising the incursion from across the border, which has turned the demographic composition of some places in the hills upside down.’

As noted, this cannot be taken to mean that scrapping the FMR is the final answer, but the first step towards correcting the large scale incursion from across the international border.

This is the reason why Manipur cannot afford to rest easy on this. The steps that have been spelt out falls into a logical sequence.

Next in line seems to be the much publicised announcement to fence the Indo-Myanmar border.

This again is another step that has been opposed by the Nagas and the Kuki-Zos, but to many the reason for the opposition to it could be as different as cheese is from chalk.

To the Nagas, it means curtailing the movement of its own people across the border while to the Kuki-Zos it could mean much more than mere movement.

Mark the stress on the italicised word ‘movement’.

There is no record of abnormal increase in the population of the Naga folks at Ukhrul and Kamjong side, much less the emergence of new settlements, while the same cannot be said of the Kuki-Zos.

Herein lies a tale, a tale that has been central to the worries and consternation of Manipur.

Scrapping FMR and border fencing and enforcement of a National Register of Citizens with 1951 as the base year should be the logical sequence.

Manipur has suffered long enough due to the unchecked incursion from across the border and the very fact that the president of the Zomi Revolutionary Army (ZRA), Thanglianpau Guite, is a Myanmarese, an outfit which is a party to the Suspension of Operation pact signed with the Government of India and Government of Manipur should say something significant.

A point which Chief Minister N Biren has raised more than once and the logical sequence demands that the Centre takes another long, hard look at the SoO pact.

Will definitely defeat the understanding of scrapping FMR and fence the Indo-Myanmar border if the Centre is going to be engaged in a political dialogue with an armed outfit headed by a Myanmarese.

Imphal should now rise to the occasion and see how it can present its case more effectively before New Delhi and ensure that the SoO outfits are reined in and one of the more effective ways would be to point out the dichotomy between scrapping FMR, fencing the border and engaging in a political with a group headed by a man from Myanmar.

The new settlements that have sprung up, defying all understanding of natural human population growth, is another point that needs to be highlighted.

Incursion from across the border should not be understood only in the period after the military coup in Myanmar but down the decades.

This is the reason why it has been demanded that 1951 should be the base year for the NRC. https://www.thesangaiexpress.com//Encyc/2024/2/9/Logical-follow-on-and-one-has-to-certainly-give-it-to-the-BJP-led-Government-at-Delhi-Back-on-January-20-Uni.html#/google_vignette



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