The Manipur government has sought a detailed report from the Assam Rifles on how at least 718 Myanmar nationals – in just two days i.e. July 22 and 23 – “were allowed to enter India” without “proper travel documents”, according to a statement by the Home Department late on Monday.
The statement assumes significance as it asks the Assam Rifles how, under its watch, over 700 Myanmar nationals entered India in just two days amid the tensions prevailing in Manipur due to the over two-month-long ethnic violence between the valley-majority Meiteis and the hill-majority Kuki tribe.
The state government is concerned that there is no way of knowing whether arms and ammunition may have been brought along with the fresh group of Myanmar nationals who crossed over to India, people with direct knowledge of the matter told NDTV, without asking to be identified.
The Headquarters 28 Sector Assam Rifles had reported that 718 fresh refugees have crossed the Indo-Myanmar border and entered Manipur via Chandel district on July 23, due to the ongoing clashes at Khampat, the Manipur Home Department said in the statement on Monday.
The Manipur government said it had clearly informed the Assam Rifles, being the border-guarding force, to take strict action to prevent entry of Myanmar nationals to Manipur on any ground without valid visa or travel documents, as per the instructions of the Home Ministry, said the statement signed by Manipur Chief Secretary Dr Vineet Joshi.
“The state government views the fresh illegal entry of 718 refugees very seriously with utmost sensitivity as the same may have international ramifications more particularly in view of the ongoing law and order issues,” the government said in the statement.
The Manipur government said it has “sought a detailed report from the Assam Rifles authority to clarify on the facts and compelling circumstances/reasons, as to why and how these 718 Myanmar nationals were allowed to enter into India in Chandel district without proper travel documents; along with strict advice to push back those 718 illegal Myanmar nationals immediately.”
The government directed the Chandel district deputy commissioner and the superintendent of police to look into the matter and also keep biometrics and photographs of the Myanmar nationals.
Manipur is slowly returning to normal, but still has a long way to go to fully recover. Over 150 have died in the ethnic violence that started on May 3. Thousands have been internally displaced. Neighbours from different communities who used to live together have broken apart.
Manipur has been without internet for over two months now.
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