A man rides his motorised two-wheeler across the Indo-Myanmar border bridge at the border town of Moreh, in the northeastern Indian state of Manipur, on January 25, 2012. (Reuters)
A man rides his motorised two-wheeler across the Indo-Myanmar border bridge at the border town of Moreh, in the northeastern Indian state of Manipur, on January 25, 2012. (Reuters)

Manipur issues order to 'politely turn away' refugees from Myanmar: Reports

India shares a 1,643-kilometre border with Myanmar and is home to thousands of refugees from Myanmar in different states.
By hindustantimes.com | Edited by Joydeep Bose
PUBLISHED ON MAR 29, 2021 04:35 PM IST

Amid an ongoing security crackdown in Myanmar, the government in Manipur, which flanks the neighbouring country, has reportedly instructed its border districts to neither open any relief camps nor provide food and shelter to potential refugees.

Local media reports said that the Manipur home department, in a 'confidential' letter, has ordered the deputy commissioners of the Chandel, Tengnoupal, Kamjong, Ukhrul and Churachandpur districts to take appropriate actions regarding the "illegal entry of Myanmarese nationals". Hindustan Times has not independently verified the aforementioned letter.

The letter, reviewed by northeastern media outlets, reportedly contains distinct instructions for the border district administrations, asking them to ensure that none of the camps is opened by the district administration or civil society organisations to provide food and shelter to the refugees. "People trying to enter/seek refuge should be politely turned away," the letter reportedly reads.

The 'confidential' letter provides that only in the case of grievous injuries may an exception be made on 'humanitarian considerations', according to media outlets reporting on it.

India shares a 1,643-kilometre border with Myanmar and is home to thousands of refugees from Myanmar in different states. The security crackdown in Myanmar following its February 1 military coup has sent people fleeing across the border into India. On Friday, three Myanmar nationals with serious bullet wounds were admitted to a hospital in northeast India after they crossed the border, news agency PTI reported citing police sources.

According to the police, about a dozen people from Myanmar moved into Manipur on Thursday after firing by Myanmarese forces in the border town of Tamu. They were given shelter by the residents of Moreh, an Indian border town, who took them to a hospital. A day later, eight Myanmar nationals were sent back to their home country.

Indian state and central authorities haven't given any figures so far but some state ministers have said that the number of people who crossed over from Myanmar into India in the face of violence could be in the hundreds. One Indian village has given shelter to 34 police personnel and one firefighter who crossed over the last two weeks.

Mizoram, on the other hand, allowed refugees to enter and provided them with food and shelter. But the Union home ministry then told four border states, including Mizoram, to take measures to prevent them from entering India except on humanitarian grounds, reported the Associated Press. Backing its action, the ministry has said the states were not authorised to accord refugee status to anyone entering from Myanmar, as India is not a signatory to the UN Refugee Convention of 1951 or its 1967 Protocol.

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