Manipur withdraws earlier order to turn Myanmar refugees away ‘politely’

Updated on Mar 30, 2021 05:47 PM IST

The fresh order maintains that the state government has been taking all necessary humanitarian steps, including taking in some injured Myanmar refugees to the state capital Imphal for treatment

Myanmar citizens living in India hold placards during a protest against the military coup in Myanmar, in New Delhi. (REUTERS)
Myanmar citizens living in India hold placards during a protest against the military coup in Myanmar, in New Delhi. (REUTERS)

The Manipur government on Monday withdrew an earlier order directing authorities in districts bordering Myanmar to “politely turn away” nationals from the neighbouring nation who are trying to enter India.

The fresh letter was issued by H Gyan Prakash, special secretary (home), government of Manipur, to deputy commissioners of Chandel, Tengnoupal, Ukhrul and Churachandpur districts.

“The fresh letter was issued on Monday which directed the deputy commissioners in four districts to disregard the earlier letter issued on March 26,” Prakash said over phone from Imphal.

The letter mentions that the earlier order issued on March 26 has been misconstrued and interpreted differently, and the Manipur government has been providing all aid to Myanmar nationals who have entered India via the borders with the state.

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It maintains that the state government has been taking all necessary humanitarian steps, including taking in some injured Myanmar refugees, who are fleeing the country after last month’s military coup, to the state capital Imphal for treatment.

Monday’s order stated that to avoid misunderstanding, the earlier letter has been withdrawn.

On March 26, Prakash’s office had issued a directive that there should not be any camp to provide food and shelter to Myanmar nationals and no civil society group should not provide food and shelter to the refugees either.

It added that in case of grievous injuries sustained by Myanmar nationals, medical attention “may be provided on humanitarian considerations”.

“People trying to enter/seek refuge should be politely turned away,” the March 26 letter read.

Manipur government’s actions are in contrast to Mizoram where chief minister Zoramthanga has refused to turn away Myanmar nationals (as asked by Centre) who have entered the state through the border.

As per reports, nearly 1,000 Myanmar nationals have entered Mizoram and are taking shelter in the state at present.

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  • ABOUT THE AUTHOR

    Utpal is a Senior Assistant Editor based in Guwahati. He covers seven states of North-East India and heads the editorial team for the region. He was previously based in Kathmandu, Dehradun and Delhi with Hindustan Times.

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