'Divides Mizo people': Mizoram CM opposes fencing along India-Myanmar border

Lalduhoma also told the PM and other ministers that Myanmar refugees seeking shelter in Mizoram were treated as brothers and sisters of the Mizo people

Rihkhawdar (Myanmar) on the left and Zokhawdar (Mizoram, India) on the right bank of the Tio river (photo: Wikipedia)
Rihkhawdar (Myanmar) on the left and Zokhawdar (Mizoram, India) on the right bank of the Tio river (photo: Wikipedia)
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IANS

Mizoram chief minister Lalduhoma, who met Prime Minister Narendra Modi and several other Union ministers in Delhi, has reportedly opposed the Centre's plan to erect fencing along the porous India-Myanmar border.

A highly-placed official on Friday said the chief minister, during his meeting with external affairs minister S. Jaishankar, said if the Centre erects border fencing along the Mizoram-Myanmar border, it will amount to an acceptance of the blunder committed by the British colonial government, which divided the Mizo people living in both India and Myanmar. "The Mizo people always oppose any proposal to fence the border," he said.

A former Indian Police Service officer, Lalduhoma, who was a security officer for former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, was also a batchmate (1977) of Jaishankar, who joined the Indian Foreign Service.

As per the senior official, Lalduhoma pointed out to PM Modi and other ministers that the current border with Myanmar was forced upon the ethnic group by the then British government without the prior consent of Mizo people, and that it is still unacceptable for people on both sides of the border.

The chief minister said the British had separated the Mizos by carving out the then Burma (now Myanmar) from India, which divided Mizo land into two parts. "The Mizo people believe the present India-Myanmar border as an imposed boundary and that is why we can't accept the border."

Mizoram shares a 510 km unfenced border with Myanmar. People on both sides of the border are keen to come under one administration as they belong to the same ethnicity, the official quoted the chief minister as telling PM Modi and other central ministers.

The Union home ministry, through various Central and state agencies, is now erecting fencing along the 4,096-km India-Bangladesh border in West Bengal, Tripura, Assam, and Mizoram, and plans to do the same along the 1,643-km India-Myanmar border in Mizoram, Manipur, Nagaland, and Arunachal Pradesh. In fact, it has already begun work to fence the border with Manipur.

Besides the PM and external affairs minister, the chief minister also met Union home minister Amit Shah and road transport and highways minister Nitin Gadkari, and discussed various issues including the India-Myanmar border and Myanmar refugees.


Lalduhoma also told the PM and other ministers that the Myanmar refugees 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 began 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 of India from Myanmar.

This was Lalduhoma’s first visit to the national capital after assuming the office as chief minister on 8 December. He is now in Kolkata attending a felicitation ceremony before returning to Aizawl.

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