Minister for halt to fencing along Myanmar-Nagaland border

Strongly objecting to border fencing along the India-Myanmar border in the state, state health and family welfare minister P Longon said the move has adversely affected the livelihood of villagers whose land and resources have been arbitrarily put on the “wrong” side of the border.

On 12 December, 2016, the border fencing construction work was initiated by Myanmarese authorities, the minister said in the assembly. Pangsha village, which Longon hails from, is an Indian Naga village but traditional cultivable land, along with huge tracts of virgin forests belonging to the village, have been demarcated as belonging to the Myanmar side by an imaginary boundary line and border pillar.

The villagers practise shifting cultivation, with a cycle of four years. The practise as well as the famed mithun – the state animal – and cattle which forage in the reserve forest across the demarcated “international border”, the minister said.

The Khiamniungan Tribal Council (KTC) had taken up the matter through the state government and the Eastern Naga People’s Organization (ENPO). Longon appreciated the seriousness with which both the state government and the ENPO have dealt with the matter, taking it up with the Prime Minister’s Office, the ministry of external affairs, the ministry of home affairs and the ministry of defence. The Centre, then, took up the matter with the Myanmar government, following which construction work was suspended.

Border fencing in Pangsha is in violation of Article 371 (A), Longon said, as the Centre and the Myanmar government have not consulted legitimate land owners about a matters which pertains to their property and belonged to the Nagas of Nagaland. He added that it is the legitimate political and constitutional duty of the Centre and the state government to protect the people and their territory. “Any initiative and venture in this regard must be trilateral in the context of Nagaland under the provision of Article 371 (A),” he said.

Longon also supported Independent MLA Levi Rengma’s proposal to pass a resolution to permanently stop border fencing in any part of Nagaland along the India-Myanmar border.

Source: The Time of India

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