Monday, March 4, 2024

Mizoram CM meets Amit Shah, discusses border fencing along Myanmar among other issues

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New Delhi/Aizawl, Feb 10: Mizoram Chief Minister Lalduhoma on Saturday held meeting with Union Home Minister Amit Shah and discussed the fencing along the India-Myanmar border issue and shelter of refugees of the neighbouring country in his state.

The Mizoram Chief Minister and several organisations in Mizoram including Young Mizo Association (YMA) have been opposing the Indian government plan to fence the Myanmar border and scrapping the Free Movement Regime (FMR) along the two countries.

The FMR allowed citizens residing close to both sides of the border to move 16 km into each other’s territory without passport or visa. A senior Mizoram government official said that the Chief Minister on Saturday reiterated to the Home Minister about the “Mizo people’s stance against border fencing along the Myanmar border with Mizoram”.

“There is a positive indication in the Home Minister’s response,” the official told IANS.

He said that the Home Minister also assured assistance to the Myanmar refugees based on their requirements.

Lalduhoma on Saturday also met Union Health and Family Welfare Minister Mansukh Mandaviya and discussed enhancing the Zoram Medical College, state’s lone medical college.

He also met Union Minister of State for Finance Bhagwat Kishanrao Karad and discussed Mizoram’s finance and banking sectors.

The visit was Lalduhoma’s second tour to the national capital after assuming the office as Chief Minister on December 8 last year. During his first visit to Delhi, the Mizoram Chief Minister held meetings with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Home Minister and Road Transport and Highways Minister Nitin Gadkari, External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar and discussed the fencing, FMR, refugee and other issues.

Lalduhoma earlier told the Prime Minister and other central ministers that the current border with Myanmar was forced upon the two ethnic groups by the then British government without the prior consent of the people and that it is still unacceptable for people on both sides of the border.

He had further said that the wish of people on both sides of the border was to come under one administration and that the refugees (from Myanmar) seeking shelter inside Mizoram were not treated differently but as brothers and sisters of the Mizo people.

The Myanmar refugees belong to the Chin-Zo ethnic tribe and have similar ethnic, cultural and traditional ties with the Mizos of Mizoram.

The first influx from Myanmar started after the military toppled the Aung San Suu Kyi government and seized power in a coup in February 2021.

Since then, over 32,000 people, including women and children, have taken shelter in the northeastern state from Myanmar. Mizoram shares a 510 km unfenced border with Myanmar.

IANS

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