4 NE states, Assam Rifles asked to prevent influx from Myanmar

The Union Home Ministry has asked four northeastern states — Mizoram, Nagaland, Arunachal Pradesh and Manipur — which share borders with Myanmar to take appropriate action to check influx of refugees from the coup-hit country, officials said on Friday.

The official said that Deputy Secretary, Home, Krishna Mohan Uppu, in a letter to the Chief Secretaries of these four states and the Director General of Assam Rifles, asked them to sensitise all law enforcement and intelligence agencies for taking prompt steps in identifying illegal migrants and initiate their deportation process without delay.

Uppu, in his March 10 letter, said that the Ministry’s Foreigners Division had also issued instructions to Chief Secretaries on February 28 for asking law enforcement and intelligence agencies to take prompt steps for identifying illegal migrants, their restrictions to specific locations as per provisions of law, capturing their biographic and biometrics particulars, cancellation of fake Indian documents and legal proceedings, including initiation of deportation.

The letter, available with IANS, reiterated that state governments and UT administrations have no powers to grant “refugee” status to any foreigner and India is not a signatory to the UN Refugee Convention of 1951 and its 1967 Protocol.

The four northeastern states share a 1,643 km unfenced border with Myanmar.

Mizoram Home Minister Lalchamliana, in a statement in the Assembly this week, had said that the state government has been providing relief and shelter to the people who have entered Indian territory from Myanmar.

He said that the state government has sent the detailed report about these people to the Union Home Ministry and is waiting for the Centre’s advice on dealing with them.

“The matter is highly sensitive… we are officially not disclosing the details and the number of people who have come from Myanmar. However, all the details have been communicated to the MHA,” he had said.

Myanmar’s Falam district authorities last week requested Deputy Commissioner of Champai district in Mizoram to send back their eight police officers, who had crossed into Mizoram since March 3.

Assam Rifles officials and the villagers of the border areas of Champhai, Serchhip and Hnahthial districts told the media that around 100 people comprising unarmed police personnel and civilians, including children, had crossed over from Myanmar since March 3.

Meanwhile, the National Campaign Against Torture has asked the National Human Rights Commission to process the asylum/refugee claims of the Myanmar refugees who have fled following the coup.

NCAT coordinator Suhas Chakma urged the NHRC to send an investigation team to Mizoram to interview each refugee and determine their status in conformity with the national law and India’s obligations under the international law.

It also requested the MHRC to direct the government not to forcibly repatriate any refugees until their claims have been assessed by the NHRC and further to extend humanitarian assistance to them.

A one-year state of emergency has been declared in Myanmar and power transferred to Senior General Min Aung Hlaing after President U Win Myint and State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi were detained by the military on February 1.