The Manipur government on Monday, 29 March, reportedly withdrew a letter from 26 March, in which it had asked its border districts to neither open any relief camps nor provide food or shelter to refugees fleeing the security crackdown in Myanmar.
“It appears that the contents of the letter have been misconstrued and interpreted differently,” said the Manipur Home department, amid rising flak against the state government for refusing basic sustenance to Myanmar nationals fleeing a military crackdown and increasing rise of violence in the country since the 1 February coup.
Further, the home department has reportedly claimed, in a new letter, that the state government “has been taking all humanitarian steps and had recently taken all steps, including taking them (Myanmar nationals) to Imphal, to treat the injured Myanmarese nationals.”
The state government will continue to provide all aid, informed the Manipur government.
The Original Letter
The original letter in question, addressed to Deputy Commissioners of Chandel, Tengnoupal, Kamjong, Ukhrul, and Churachandpur, had instructed that people from Myanmar trying to enter or seek refuge in Manipur should be “politely turned away”.
The letter was purportedly sent by the Home Department of Manipur and doled 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.
As per the letter, the government had asked for a report on the same to be submitted by 30 March.
MEANWHILE, IN MIZORAM
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 the border states of 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.
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?”
Myanmar's Ambassador to the United Nations had earlier, reportedly, appealed to India and the various governments of its states bordering the country to provide shelter to refugees given the humanitarian crisis unfolding there.