Mizoram: Rallies against Centre’s decision to fence India-Myanmar border

Protesters waved and exchanged slogans across the India-Myanmar Friendship Gate, emphasising their opposition to the government's decision..........

AIZAWL:  Thousands of individuals gathered in rallies across Mizoram to voice their opposition to the Indian government’s move to fence the India-Myanmar border and revoke the free movement arrangement with Myanmar.

Organised by the Zo Re-Unification Organisation (Zoro), the peaceful demonstrations took place in Zokhawthar and Vaphai villages in Champhai district, bordering Myanmar. Participants included members of the Zo ethnic group, with many from Myanmar joining the procession.

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Protesters waved and exchanged slogans across the India-Myanmar Friendship Gate, emphasising their opposition to the government’s decision and advocating for the preservation of free movement and ethnic unity.

They highlighted the historical ties between the Zo ethnic group and stressed the need for continued interaction.

The Mizoram government, civil society organisations, and student bodies have strongly opposed the Centre’s actions, arguing that the measures would disrupt longstanding connections between ethnic communities.

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The state assembly previously passed a resolution against the border fencing and withdrawal of the free movement regime, reflecting widespread local discontent.

Zorro is a Mizo group that seeks to reunify all the Chin-Kuki-Mizo-Zomi tribes of India, Bangladesh and Myanmar by bringing them under one administration.

The rally in Vaphai started at 7 am and ended around 10 am, while another procession in Zokhawthar, where the India-Myanmar Friendship Gate is located, started at 11 am.

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Zorro general secretary L Ramdinliana Renthali told Media persons that “Thousands of people took to the streets in protest, while around 7,000 protesters took part in the Zokhawthar rally. Hundreds of people from Myanmar took part in these two rallies, while many could not enter India as the Friendship Gate was shutdown by the concerned authorities to avoid Any untoward incident. he said.

The protesters also carried placards and banners demanding continued free movement in the border areas and claiming that they belong to the Zo ethnic group and have lived together for centuries.

The free movement regime (FMR) allows people to cross a distance of up to 16 km on either side of the international border.

Mizoram shares a 510 km long border with the Chin State of Myanmar and the Mizo people share ethnic ties with the Chin community.

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Renthali claimed that similar protests had also taken place in Tengnoupal district of Manipur.

According to the state home department, more than 34,000 people from Myanmar’s Chin state are currently taking shelter in different parts of Mizoram. Chin people fled their homes following a military coup in the neighboring country in February 2021.

The Mizoram government, civil society organizations and student bodies have strongly opposed the Centre’s decision to fence the India-Myanmar border and remove the FMR as they believe it will “disturbing” the close contacts between the ethnic communities of the two countries. . The Mizoram Assembly had passed a resolution on February 28, protesting the Centre’s decision to erect fencing along the India-Myanmar border and scrapping the FMR. 


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