’No food, shelter for Myanmar refugees’: Manipur govt tells district administrations

  • Myanmar's security forces have killed at least 510 civilians in nearly two months
  • On 10 March, the MHA wrote to the chief secretaries of Mizoram, Manipur, Nagaland and Arunachal Pradesh and the Assam Rifles guarding the Indo-Myanmar border, to check influx of people from Myanmar

Staff Writer
First Published30 Mar 2021
People hold placards as they gather to denounce the Myanmar military coup
People hold placards as they gather to denounce the Myanmar military coup(REUTERS)

Amid the Myanmar military's severe crackdown on protesters, the Manipur government has barred the local district administration from offering food or shelter to the refugees that might flee into the state.

In an order issued to deputy commissioners of the Chandel, Tengnoupal, Kamjong, Ukhrul and Churachandpur districts, the government stated: "As a fallout of the events taking place in the neighbouring country, Myanmar, it is reported that the country's national have been trying to enter into India."

In view of this, "District administration should not open any camps to provide food and shelter," the government told local officials.

Only medical attention can be provided in case of "grievous injuries" on "humanitarian consideration", the order stated.

The state government has asked locals to "politely turn away" all Myanmarese nationals seeking refuge in Manipur.

"Aadhar enrollment should be stopped immediately and Aadhar enrolment kits to be kept in safe custody," added the order.

Full order

This comes in the backdrop of Myanmar's Ambassador to the United Nations appealing to the Indian government and various state governments to provide shelter to refugees given the humanitarian crisis in his country.

Condition in Mizoram

The number of Myanmarese nationals taking refuge in Mizoram has crossed 1000 since last month's military coup, and at least 100 such people were sent back to their country but they have again sneaked into the state, officials said on Monday.

A senior Mizoram home department official said that the government did not receive any further communication from the Centre on the Myanmarese refugee issue after the 10 March directive to stop illegal migration of people from that country.

"As per the home department's record, 1,042 Myanmarese nationals have entered the state till Monday. While most of them are staying in border villages and are being provided with relief and shelter by local NGOs, some are living with their relatives," an official told news agency PTI.

Many of the people who have crossed the international border to reach Mizoram since the military seized power in Myanmar last month are personnel of the police and fire brigade, he said.

Meanwhile, a Champhai district official said that about 100 refugees who were recently sent back to Myanmar from Farkawn village by an NGO have returned to Mizoram.

Mizoram shares a 510 km long porous border with Myanmar's Chin state and most of the Myanmarese nationals who have taken refuge in the state belong to the Chin, also known as the Zo, community. They share the same ancestry and culture as the Mizos of Mizoram.

On 10 March, the MHA wrote to the chief secretaries of Mizoram, Manipur, Nagaland and Arunachal Pradesh and the Assam Rifles guarding the Indo-Myanmar border, to check influx of people from that country and also to identify the illegal migrants and deport them.

However, Mizoram Chief Minister Zoramthanga has said that since the people of his state share ethnic ties with the refugees of the Chin community of Myanmar, they cannot remain indifferent to their plight.

Crackdown on protesters

Myanmar's security forces have killed at least 510 civilians in nearly two months of efforts to stop protests against a 1 February coup that overthrew the democratically elected government, reported Reuters.

Heavy clashes erupted on the weekend near the Thai border between the army and fighters from Myanmar's oldest ethnic minority force, the Karen National Union (KNU).

About 3,000 villagers fled to Thailand when military jets bombed a KNU area after a KNU force overran an army outpost and killed 10 people, an activist group and media said.

Thai authorities denied accounts by activist groups that more than 2,000 refugees had been forced back, but a local official said it was government policy for the army to block them at the border and deny access to outside aid groups.

With inputs from agencies.



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