Imphal, Jan 25:
The Naga Students’ Federation (NSF) has voiced its strong condemnation of the announcement made by Union Home Minister Amit Shah on January 20, proposing the fencing of the India-Myanmar border. The NSF, representing the Naga people, has raised serious concerns about the decision, particularly the revelation that the existing Free Movement Regime (FMR) between India and Myanmar is set to be abolished.
Expressing their concerns, the NSF emphasized the historical impact external forces have had on the Naga people through arbitrary divisions. The Federation appreciated the Government of Nagaland’s efforts in addressing the matter and urged the central government to proactively engage in preserving the Free Movement Regime. They highlighted the regime as a vital bridge that fosters connections, relations, and cooperation between the Naga people on both sides of the Saramati mountain range.
In a press release, the NSF cautioned against any exploitation of the issue for political gains in Delhi, emphasizing that the Naga aspiration for autonomy and respect for their rights should not be compromised for short-term political interests. The Federation urged all stakeholders to prioritize the welfare and aspirations of the Naga people over political opportunism.
The NSF expressed deep concern over the recent decision, considering India’s global stature and its commitment as a signatory to the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples 2007 (UNDRIP). Quoting Article 36 of the UNDRIP, which recognizes the rights of indigenous peoples divided by international borders, the NSF highlighted the importance of maintaining connections, relations, and cooperation across borders.
Calling for a reconsideration of the decision, the NSF appealed to the Indian government to engage in meaningful dialogue with the Naga community. They stressed the need for a solution that respects historical rights and aligns with international commitments made by the Indian government to uphold the rights of indigenous peoples.
The NSF affirmed its commitment to advocating for the rights and autonomy of the Naga people and called for a united effort from both state and central governments to address the issue through dialogue and understanding, respecting the historical context and the rights of the indigenous Naga community.