On reports of Myanmar cops crossing over to India, MEA says ‘ascertaining facts’
Amid reports of several Myanmar policemen seeking refuge in India, the ministry of external affairs (MEA) said on Friday said it ascertaining facts and will revert with more details, reported news agency ANI.
The remark by MEA spokesperson Anurag Srivastava comes in the backdrop of multiple reports suggesting personnel from Myanmar police have crossed over to India from the northeastern border to escape taking orders from a military junta that is trying to suppress protests against last month's coup.
According to a home department official quoted by news agency PTI, 16 people of Myanmar have crossed over to the Indian side in recent days. "Of the 16 foreign nationals, 11 including a woman claimed they were police personnel of Myanmar. They possessed Myanmar citizen identity cards but it is hard to verify whether they belong to the police force or not," the official told PTI.
Another official in Mizoram told news agency Reuters that people were slipping in despite intensive patrolling by Indian soldiers on the border along the Tiau river flowing between forested hills. "People are coming from different routes. The border is porous, you can't prevent it,” the official said.
Earlier in the day, authorities in Mizoram said a team of officials is verifying the reports. Mizoram home minister Lalchamliana said that the men claiming to be policemen entered Serchhip district bordering Myanmar on Wednesday. “These men claim they are policemen. We have sent officials to verify their claims. They are yet to submit a report. It is very likely that the information is true,” the minister said.
Following the alleged incident, India has stepped up security along the border with Myanmar, where the military overthrew a democratically elected government on February 1. "As of now, we are not letting anybody enter," Maria Zuali, a senior government official in Mizoram’s Champhai district, told Reuters. There is so far no word by Myanmar’s military on police defectors.
Mizoram, which shares a 510km border with Myanmar, has been preparing for the event of a possible influx of refugees from the neighbouring nation in view of the growing dissent against the military coup. The Champhai administration has asked people to immediately report any information about Myanmarese nationals entering through the border to seek shelter. “If somebody crosses over without the notice of the district administration or village councils in border areas, those persons have to be caught and the local authorities alerted. They have to record entries of people who are not Indian nationals,” Zuali told HT.
The army coup in Myanmar has triggered protests across the nation in which more than 50 people have died, according to reports.