The Naga Students' Federation (NSF) vehemently condemned the recent move by the Government of India to abolish the Free Movement Regime (FMR) and propose the fencing of the India-Myanmar border.
“This decision, fraught with historical implications and disregard to the rights of the Naga people, is a regressive step that will exacerbate conflicts in the North-East Frontier Region,” the NSF said in a statement today.
The proposed fencing of the boundary-line, as suggested by the authorities in Delhi, raises serious concerns about the historical context and the impact it will have on the Naga people, the Naga student body added. The lands and hills between the Chindwin River and the Saramati mountain range, presently on the Burma-side, are an integral part of the Naga heritage, it stated. It is crucial for India to acknowledge the historical truth that these territories belong to the Nagas, the apex Naga student body added.
"The duplicity separation line, which has persisted for over 80 years, has been a root cause of conflicts and insurgencies in the North-East Frontier Region. This cycle of conflict will persist until a just and equitable resolution is achieved,” the NSF stated.
The Naga people, on both sides of the Saramati mountain range, have suffered the consequences of arbitrary divisions imposed by external forces, the Naga student body further said. The Nagas on the Burma-side were forced into conflicts with the Government of Burma, while those on the Indian side were embroiled in struggles with the Government of India, it further added.
The student body then said the “attempt to arbitrarily divide and fence the Nagas is an affront to our rights and autonomy”, while adding, “Such attempts to disrupt our unity will only sow the seeds of discord and unrest”. India, the NSF said, as a responsible nation, must recognise that it has no right to unilaterally decide the fate of the Naga people through fencing.
The recent decision by the central government to abolish the Free Movement Regime (FMR) is deeply troubling, the NSF expressed concern. The FMR has played a crucial role in facilitating interactions between people residing close to the India-Myanmar border, it further said. Abolishing this regime will not only restrict the cultural and social exchange between communities but will also add a layer of tension to an already delicate situation, the NSF also stated.
According to the NSF, the 1,643 km long India-Myanmar border traversing through Mizoram, Manipur, Nagaland, and Arunachal Pradesh is a complex landscape with diverse communities and histories. As such, the NSF urged the Government of India to reconsider its decision and engage in a meaningful dialogue with the Naga community to find a solution that respects our historical rights and aspirations.
In conclusion, the Naga Students' Federation said it stands united against the unilateral actions proposed by the Indian government. “We call for a just and inclusive resolution that respects the historical realities and aspirations of the Naga people. The NSF remains committed to fostering peace, unity, and understanding in the region,” it added.