More border security for poll bound Nagaland

Morung Express News
Dimapur | January 13


Even as a formal agreement is in the offing between the governments of India and Myanmar to streamline the free movement of people along the Indo-Myanmar border, the Election Commission of India has now requested increasing security presence along the border in view of the upcoming elections in Nagaland State.


The Times of India reported today that the Election Commission of India (ECI) has asked the Assam Rifles to increase its presence in the 1643-km-long Indo-Myanmar border to prevent armed groups based in the neighbouring country from crossing the border to create disturbance in poll-bound Nagaland.


Nagaland chief electoral officer (CEO) Abhijit Sinha told the Times of India that security along the inter-state and inter-district borders has been tightened to ensure a peaceful election which is due next month. “The international border is guarded by the Assam Rifles. We have asked the paramilitary force to increase its presence along the border and augment its border outposts,” said Sinha.


Nagaland shares a 215-km international border with Myanmar across which the NSCN (K) is based. The NSCN (K) is the one of the two Naga groups that is outside the ambit of the ongoing peace process with the Centre.


Sinha added that the situation in the state is normal at present, but the ECI is not willing to take chances. “Not just the international border, we have also set up inter-state and inter-district check posts which are under CCTV surveillance,” he said.


The CEO added that the Centre is sending 276 companies of additional central paramilitary forces for poll duty. “About 40 to 50 companies are scheduled to arrive in about three to four weeks. The rest will come later,” he told TOI.


Amid popular demand for postponing the assembly election due next month until the Centre announces a solution to the Indo-Naga problem, the ECI on Wednesday night published the final electoral rolls that showed a decrease in the number of voters in comparison to the 2013 assembly election following some intensive cleansing of the rolls.


Naga people are awaiting the outcome of the peace process between the Centre, NSCN (IM) and six other groups included in the peace process recently to make the exercise all-inclusive. This has prompted the civil society to seek a solution before they cast their votes.


The Union home ministry, however, has maintained that election has to be conducted as per schedule. The peace process will continue simultaneously.


Villagers on India, Myanmar border to get passes


Morung Express News
Dimapur | January 13


In order to streamline free movement of people within 16 km along India and Myanmar border, the Centre has asked the four states that share unfenced border with Myanmar to distribute “border pass” to all the residents living within 16 km from the boundary line, The Hindu reported on Saturday.


It has also asked the governments of Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland, Manipur and Mizoram to enroll the border residents under Aadhaar on ‘war footing’, it stated.


According to the report, a formal agreement to that effect is expected to be signed between the two sides during Myanmar’s State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi visit to New Delhi next week along with nine ASEAN leaders as a chief guest for the Republic Day parade.


“The border pass will be given only to the domiciles. All residents going across the border for agriculture, work or to meet relatives should carry the pass at all times. There will be no restrictions on their movement,” the report informed quoting an official.


On January 3, the Union Cabinet had approved the agreement between India and Myanmar on land border crossing which the government said would enhance economic interaction between the people of the two countries.


India and Myanmar share an unfenced border of 1,643 km, touching Arunachal Pradesh (520 km), Nagaland (215 km), Manipur (398 km) and Mizoram (510 km).


An official, the report said, however clarified that the agreement is not associated with the Centre’s stand regarding Rohingyas as this part of the border is not known to be used by the refugees to come to India.