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Manipur districts told to stop Myanmarese from entering

By The Assam Tribune
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IMPHAL/AIZAWL, March 29: The Manipur government has asked the administrations of districts bordering Myanmar not to entertain people from across the border to enter Indian territory, officials said on Monday.

The Manipur government directive – issued to the five Deputy Commissioners of the bordering districts of Chandel, Tengnoupal, Kamjong, Ukhrul and Churachandpur – however, said: “In case of grievous injuries, medical attention may be provided on humanitarian considerations.”

The letter, written by Manipur government’s Special Secretary (Home) H Gyan Prakash to the Deputy Commissioners, said that as a fallout of the events taking place in Myanmar, it was reported that the country’s nationals have been trying to enter India through the border states including Manipur.

Prakash asked the five DCs not to open any camps to provide food and shelter, and civil society organisations also should not be allowed to open any camps to provide shelter and food, people trying to enter or seek refuge should be politely turned away and Aadhaar enrolment should be stopped immediately and Aadhaar enrolment kits should be taken into safe custody.

The Manipur Home Department has also sought a report on action taken by the district administrations by Tuesday.

According to officials, on Friday, some Myanmarese including women and children tried to enter Manipur through the Moreh-Tamu border but the security forces did not allow them to enter the Indian side.

Manipur media reported that three injured Myanmar nationals with bullet wounds were last week allowed to enter Manipur and they have been admitted at the Jawaharlal Nehru Institute of Medical Sciences (JNIMS) in Imphal.

Meanwhile, according to the different official sources and bordering villagers, over 1,000 Myanmar nationals, including some security personnel, have so far entered Mizoram and local people and NGOs are providing them food and shelter on humanitarian ground.

Mizoram Chief Minister Zoramthanga has urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to provide asylum, food and shelter to refugees who have arrived in the state since the military seized power in Myanmar last month.

Zoramthanga’s March 18 letter to Modi sought his intervention so that the refugees from Myanmar are given asylum, food and shelter in India.

Referring to the Union Home Ministry’s advisories to the Chief Secretaries of the four North Eastern states bordering Myanmar and also to the Assam Rifles and Border Security Force for taking action to prevent illegal influx from Myanmar into India, Zoramthanga said, “This is not acceptable to Mizoram.”

“I understand that there are certain foreign policy issues where India needs to proceed cautiously. However, we cannot ignore this humanitarian crisis,” he said in his letter.

Zoramthanga said that India, as the largest democracy in the world, and Myanmar’s immediate neighbour needs to do more in this matter.

Amid the government tightening security along the India-Myanmar border to prevent influx, Zoramthanga recently held a virtual meeting with Myanmar’s Foreign Minister Zin Mar Aung.

Mizoram government delegations have already met Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu, Union Minister of State for Home Nityanand Rai, Home Secretary Ajay Kumar Bhalla and others in Delhi to persuade them to impress upon the government not to forcefully push back Myanmar nationals sheltered in Mizoram.

According to Mizoram’s Rajya Sabha member K Vanlalvena, over 1,000 Myanmar nationals including police personnel besides women and children have crossed the border.

The four North Eastern states of Mizoram, Nagaland, Arunachal Pradesh and Manipur share a 1,643 km unfenced border with Myanmar.

The MHA reiterated that the state governments and UT administrations have no power to grant refugee status to any foreigner and India is not a signatory to the UN Refugee Convention of 1951 and its 1967 Protocol.

A one-year state of emergency has been declared in Myanmar where power has been transferred to Senior General Min Aung Hlaing after President U Win Myint and State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi were detained by the military on February 1. – IANS

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