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8 Myanmar nationals caught in Tripura, 1,200 refugees in Mizoram under watch

The people detained had no valid documents except refugee cards granted by United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. It is not yet known whether they are Rohingyas.

india Updated: Nov 29, 2017 18:24 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, Agartala/Guwahati
Myanmar nationals,UNHCR,Illegal aliens
File photo of Rohingya refugees taking shelter along the roadside near Cox’s Bazar in Bangladesh after crossing the border from Myanmar.(REUTERS)

Tripura police on Wednesday caught eight Myanmar nationals at Khayerpur, about 10 km from state capital Agartala. They include two women and four children.

Locals tipped off the police after finding them moving “suspiciously” in Khayerpur market. Police said they could not produce any valid documents except refugee cards granted by United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.

“We are investigating if the cards are valid. They are assumed to be from Myanmar, but we are not sure if they are Rohingyas,” senior police officer Pradip Dey, heading police control, said. The eight people are now in a police lock up in Khayerpur market.

The development in Tripura come on the heels of the influx of some 1,200 Myanmar nationals in Lawngtlai, Mizoram’s southernmost district, after that country’s army launched a major offensive against the Arakan Army, an insurgent group of ethnic Muslims.

Read more: Stuck in Manipur jail for 5 years, Rohingyas seek UN help

Officials of the Assam Rifles paramilitary force, which guards the India-Myanmar border in Mizoram, said more than 200 troopers have been deployed in border villages such as Hmangbuchhua, Zochhachua, Dumzotlang and Laitlang to prevent Myanmarese insurgents sneaking in taking advantage of the free movement regime.

An agreement between Delhi and Naypyidaw allows border residents to travel up to 16 km within each other’s territory without documents.

“Brigadier MS Mokha heading Assam Rifles operations in the area inspected the refugee camps and while assuring humanitarian aid to the refugees instructed them not leave the camps and travel further north inside Mizoram,” an Assam Rifles spokesperson said from Mizoram capital Aizawl.

First Published: Nov 29, 2017 18:24 IST