Manipur CM expresses concern over Indo-Myanmar border dispute,  says border fencing will be stopped

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Imphal: Fencing along the Indo-Myanmar border between Manipur and Myanmar will be stopped until an agreement between the two countries is brought to the dispute of border pillar numbers 80 and 81 locations, chief minister N. Biren Singh said this on Thursday.

Biren was talking to reporters on the sideline of the Olympic Day Run event organised at Khuman Lampak Sports Complex, here.

United Committee Manipur (UCM), a civil voluntary organisation, has been demanding the government to halt the border fencing identifying that border pillars have encroached the Indian territory in Manipur.

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The civil body says the border pillars 81 and 82 have encroached about three and a half kilometer in the Indian soil. It says there is a possibility of Manipur losing its land from Border Pillars 79 to 102. It urged the state government to demarcate the border based on the terms of 1967 Rangoon Agreement.

Biren said he had talked to the Union home secretary on Wednesday over the issue and have written an official letter.

He requested the home ministry to halt the fencing at disputed locations covered by border pillars 80 and 81 while the fencing continues in undisputed locations. The home secretary told him that the chief secretary will be instructed to halt the fencing. In the meantime a team from the home ministry will be sent to settle the issues with Myanmar, the chief minister said.

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The border issue is a serious issue. The government does not take it lightly. It has been keeping an eye on it as there has been dispute at the border. Fencing at the disputed locations will be stopped until it is settled, he added.

The border fencing is a must to prevent cross border smuggling. Manipur has become a victim of Golden Traingle. “We should be very alert,” Biren told reporters.

A scribe an a volunteer of UCM were injured on Wednesday when state police fired tear gas shells and mock bombs to disperse the people who demonstrated at Lamlong Keithel in Imphal East against the border fencing work.

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The UCM had recently appraised the border issue to the Union minister of state for external affairs RK Ranjan urging to halt the border fencing.

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