Indian Naga group wants Myanmar to scrap border fence

A Naga group in northeastern India has written to President U Htin Kyaw to ask Myanmar to scrap plans to build a fence along a section of the border in Sagaing Region, media reports said.

Myanmar’s foreign ministry said in a statement on January 10 it planned to build the fence in the Naga Self-Administered Zone, 10 metres from the demarcated border with India, China’s state-run Xinhua newsagency reported.

A Naga group in India, the Khiamniungan Tribal Council, has written to Htin Kyaw and Indian Prime Minister Mr Narendra Modi urging them to halt work on the fence, said the Morung Express.

It quoted the council as saying that the Khiamniungan Naga people were not consulted about the fence.

There were at least 160 Khiamniungan Naga villages in Myanmar and the group feared that the sealing off of about 3,500 acres by the fence would result in a loss of their livelihoods, the Morung Express said.

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“The Khiamniungan people have condemned this ‘policy of separation’ and termed the move a ‘felonious act’,” said the newspaper, based at Dimapur, in Nagaland.

Other Naga groups, including the Eastern Nagaland People’s Organisation and the Naga Hoho had also unanimously expressed opposition to the “ongoing” work on the fence, the report said.

The Naga Hoho had described the fence as a state-sponsored attempt by India and Myanmar to rewrite the history of the Nagas, it said.

Naga civil society groups in Myanmar had also condemned the fencing project as a “direct violation against the rights of the indigenous people,” the newspaper said.

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