‘We Can’t Kill Our Own’: Myanmar Cops Take Refuge in Mizoram

Ground Report: Thousands of refugees from Myanmar have taken shelter in Mizoram to escape the military crackdown.

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Producer: Naman Shah
Video Editor: Abhishek Sharma

“We came to Mizoram for shelter. We will be killed if we go back to Myanmar. We were part of Myanmar government’s security forces. They forced us to shoot our own people. We did not want to hurt our own people that’s why we came to Mizoram for shelter.”
Myanmar Policeman (Name Withheld)

To escape Myanmar's military crackdown, thousands of citizens from Myanmar have crossed the border to Mizoram in India and many among them are police personnel. River Tiau marks the boundary between both the countries and Mizoram's Champhai district, which borders Myanmar, and has seen one of the largest influxes of refugees.

Several of these refugees are former army-persons of militarised Myanmar.

<div class="paragraphs"><p>The India-Myanmar Border Gate at Champhai, Mizoram.&nbsp;</p></div>

The India-Myanmar Border Gate at Champhai, Mizoram. 

(Photo: The Quint)

“When people came out to protest on the streets, we were told to capture them. We were told even to shoot them. We couldn’t follow their order because they are our own people. So, our only choice was to move out from Myanmar.”
Former Myanmar Military Personnel (Name Withheld)

The group that has taken shelter in Champhai, some of them are policewomen from Myanmar.

“When we were in Myanmar, we couldn’t sleep peacefully because of the situation there. We were constantly under fear, our lives were not at peace. The sight of army would make us anxious. As female police, we were told to target female protestors.”
Myanmar Policewoman (Name Withheld)
<div class="paragraphs"><p>Two Myanmar Policewomen at the Champhai shelter.&nbsp;</p></div>

Two Myanmar Policewomen at the Champhai shelter. 

(Photo: The Quint)

Most of these refugees travelled to Champhai from Myanmar's Falam and Tedim.

“Entering Mizoram wasn’t easy. We had to hide from the surveilling guards, and it took us two days to reach here.”
Myanmar Policewoman (Name Withheld)

The Mizos have been a generous host to their ethnic cousins from across the border. Several groups have come up to provide food and shelter to the refugees. Many have also undertaken fundraiser and charity events to support the displaced.

“We have been staying here in Mizoram since last two weeks. I was happy that some NGO is providing us with a shelter.”
Former Myanmar Military Personnel (Name Withheld)
<div class="paragraphs"><p>A Myanmar refugee family in the shelter home in Champhai.&nbsp;</p></div>

A Myanmar refugee family in the shelter home in Champhai. 

(Photo: The Quint)

Mizoram's Chief Minister Zoramthanga had urged the central government to "be more open to Myanmarese people," after the home affairs ministry had asked the border states to take appropriate action as per law to check illegal influx from Myanmar into India.

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