United Committee Manipur (UCM) has demanded summoning of a special session of the Manipur Legislative Assembly to take a resolution on the preservation of the territorial integrity of Manipur in the light of the imminent loss of large chunks of territory as a result of the construction of a border fence along Manipur Myanmar border.
Announcing this to reporters on Wednesday the UCM president Nabachandra Yumnam said that a coordinating committee encompassing all civil society organisations and ethnic communities will be formed to spearhead the agitation since the state and the central governments are soft pedalling the explosive issue.
He said that UCM has been looking into the controversial construction of the border fence since early part of August. During the spot visits the UCM activists found that some boundary pillars are missing. As a result there is dispute over the territories of the two countries. A seminar of the experts and representatives of the government was held on September 1. It resolved, inter alia, to launch a mass movement for the protection of the territory of India. It also demanded production of a white paper on the controversy.
Besides, a technical committee consisting of experts and representatives of the civil society organisations should be formed to chalk out a line of actions.
Though UCM and others have been demanding the suspension of the construction works of the border fence till a final agreement is reached, the personnel of the Border Roads Organisation under the supervision of Assam Rifles are carrying on with the construction works. It had been announced that the border fence shall affect 18 tribal villages in Manipur.
The Manipur government had constituted an official committee to prepare a report on the issue. However the committee maintains that what is being constructed is a security fence and not border fence. But the NGOs and other activists do not subscribe to it.
Deputy Chief Minister Gaikhangam Gangmei has promised to look into it. The government has taken notice of the fact that the Myanmarese army has constructed an army camp at Hollenphai village near Moreh, the border town. The Myanmarese army contends that as per maps maintained by the British this patch of land is within Myanmar.
Mr. Gangmei said that since it is an international issue the state government cannot take a unilateral decision. A Ministerial team led by Chief Minister Okram Ibobi Singh is going to Delhi on Thursday to meet the Prime Minister Manmohon Singh to discuss the issue.
The Ministry of External Affairs had instructed the Manipur government not to send a Ministerial team to the border fence for inspection since it would sour the relations between the two friendly countries. Government sources said that after receipt of this instruction the plan has been dropped.
The Manipuris fear that large chunks of Manipur's areas will be lost as a result of the construction of the border fence. The NGOs recall that soon after independence the Indian government had gifted away Kavo valley to the erstwhile Burma.