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Manipur Govt Asks For Myanmar Refugees to Be ‘Turned Away’

The death toll in Myanmar has been rising, as security forces grow increasingly violent in suppressing protests.

Updated
India
2 min read
Demonstrators display three-fingered salute, a symbol of resistance at an intersection in Yangon, Myanmar Wednesday, 10 February 2021. Image used for representation purpose. 
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The government in Manipur, as per local media reports, has in a ‘confidential’ letter asked its border districts to neither open any relief camps nor provide food or shelter to refugees fleeing the security crack-down in Myanmar.

The copy of the letter, doing the rounds on the internet, says that people from Myanmar trying to enter or seek refuge in Manipur should be “politely turned away”.

Medical attention may be provided on humanitarian grounds, but that, as per the letter, is only in cases of grievous injuries.

Civilians in Myanmar are facing a serious security crackdown since military coup on 1 February, with reports of rampant violence and an increasing number of civilians being killed.

The Assistance Association for Political Prisoners has recorded at least 459 Myanmar civilians as killed. At least six children between the age group of 10-16 were among those killed on Saturday alone, which has been dubbed the “bloodiest day” so far since the coup.

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THE PURPORTED LETTER BY MANIPUR GOVERNMENT

The letter was purportedly sent by the Home Department of Manipur. It doles out the following instructions:

  • District Administration should not open any camps to provide food and shelter.
  • The Civil Society Organisations also should not be allowed to open any camps to provide shelter/food.
  • In case of grievous injuries, medical attention may be provided on humanitarian considerations.
  • People trying to enter/seek refuge should be politely turned away.
  • Aadhaar enrolment should be stopped immediately and Aadhaar enrolment kits taken into safe custody.

The government has, as per the letter, asked for a report on the same to be submitted by 30 March.

MIZORAM, ON THE OTHER HAND

The Mizoram government, on the other hand, opened its gates to refugees fleeing Myanmar.

The Union Home Ministry, however, has written to the governments of border states Mizoram, Nagaland, Manipur and Arunachal Pradesh, as well as the Assam Rifles, seeking the identification and deportation of Myanmar nationals trying to escape the military coup.

Regardless of the Centre’s instructions, the Mizoram Chief Minister Zoramthanga, on Sunday, held a virtual meeting with Myanmar Foreign Minister-in-exile Zin Mar Aung of the National League for Democracy.

Previously, Mizoram CM Zoramthanga had also written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi saying that “India cannot turn a blind eye” to the humanitarian crisis unfolding right in its backyard. He had also pointed out that political refugees from Myanmar ought to be given asylum and provided food and shelter.

BACKGROUND

The death toll in Myanmar has been on the rise, as security forces grow increasingly violent in suppressing those protesting the 1 February coup that had overthrown the elected government of Aung San Suu Kyi.

Unfazed by the loss of human lives and the ensuing international criticism, Myanmar Junta Chief Senior General Min Aung Hlaing, in his televised speech on the occasion of Armed Forces Day, said that terrorism can be “harmful to state’s tranquility and social security”.

Meanwhile, the official Twitter handle of the Myanmar Civil Disobedience Movement informed that the Indian embassy in Myanmar had sent their military attaché to the military junta’s ‘Armed Forces Day’ ceremony and asked India:

“Why do you shake hands with the generals whose hands are soaked with our blood?”

(At The Quint, we are answerable only to our audience. Play an active role in shaping our journalism by becoming a member. Because the truth is worth it.)

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