Imphal, Sept 24: Manipur Chief Minister N Biren Singh informed on Saturday that the state government has requested the Centre to permanently freeze the Free Movement Regime (FMR) agreement of 2018 between India and Myanmar that allows people residing near the Inernational border international border to travel 16 km into each other’s territories.
Biren Singh said this during a press conference, he also said that due to this free movement regime has been the biggest impediment in Manipur’s efforts to curb the influx of illegal migrants from Myanmar through the unfenced border.
“We have informed the home ministry that because of this regime we are not being able to control the influx from Myanmar,” he said.
“Our government has requested the home ministry to cancel the free movement regime. Also, security forces instead of being deployed at zero point, were found guarding the border 14 to 15 km inside Indian territory,” he added.
He further said that “Our priority is to stop the illegal influx from Myanmar. For that we need immediate fencing of the border. I am told that the home ministry has issued a work order to BRO to fence about 60 km of the Indo-Myanmar border” .
It must be noted that in 2020, India temporarily suspended the FMR agreement in September following the unrest in Myanmar, but the influx continued due to the porosity.
CM Biren Singh also said that a countrywide survey has found a rise in drug and substance abuse among youths of the state, which was the reason why his government launched a “war on drugs” in 2018. “We have to stay focused on real issues in the state, namely dealing with influx of illegal immigrants, taking up welfare activities for internally displaced people and fighting massive poppy cultivation,” he said.
According to the MHA 563 insurgents have been apprehended and 47 insurgents have been killed along the Indo-Myanmar border between 2015 and 2018.
He also highlighted the importance of biometric and said biometric recording is necessary before compiling the NRC and the state government has urged the Centre to extend the time for the biometric process by a year in the state.