Imphal: Manipur government is setting up one more shelter home to accommodate Myanmar refugees in the Churachandpur district. Earlier, the state government had identified two sites in Chandel and Tengnoupal districts for displaced Myanmar nationals.
On Saturday, members of the Cabinet sub-committee constituted by the state government to look after the rehabilitation of Myanmar nationals visited Singngat sub-divisional headquarters and identified a site for setting up the proposed third temporary shelter home for Myanmar nationals who fled their country in the wake of the unrest there.
The team led by tribal affairs and hill development minister Letpao Haokip, also the chairman Cabinet sub-committee, water resource minister Awangbow Newmai, and education minister Th Basantakumar Singh visited the site and identified four barracks inside the Singngat Police Station complex for the shelter home.
Addressing the district officials, minister Letpao Haokip said Myanmar nationals who fled their country against the backdrop of the unrest there should be identified and kept in a shelter home. They will be provided food, lodging facility and other basic amenities including health care on humanitarian grounds.
Identity cards should also be issued to the inmates. They should be allowed to stay in the camp until normalcy returns in their home country or any order in this regard is made by the State or Central authority, he added.
“The crux here is to monitor their movement closely and deport all of them once normalcy returns in their home country,” Letpao said.
The committee members also shared thoughts on the modus operandi for identifying any Myanmar nationals who are feared to have sneaked into the state’s territory. The district officials were also briefed to encourage individuals and village authorities not to harbour foreign nationals and instead report the presence of foreign nationals in their jurisdiction so that they (foreign nationals) do not mix freely with the natives.
Deputy Commissioner of Churachandpur Sharath Arroju said intensive verification drives will again start in the district based on intelligence reports by teams comprising police, SDO staff, biometric personnel etc.
Churachandpur SP Shivanand Surve also briefed the members about the verification drive undertaken by the district police for the identification of Myanmar nationals.
Later, briefing media persons, minister Letpao said that any Myanmar nationals who are found avoiding the shelter camp should be dealt with severely. He urged all concerned to extend cooperation to the state government. He also encouraged the Myanmar nationals to come forward and register their names with the local authority and not to be apprehensive about the steps taken by the Government of Manipur.
The minister also said that they (foreign nationals) will not be arrested or detained but will be provided with all humanitarian assistance temporarily till the situation favours their return or any decision in this regard is taken up by the competent Central or State authorities.
The detained Myanmar nationals are safe in the detention centre, the minister assured.
However, stringent legal action will also be initiated against anyone found harbouring or providing accommodation/shelter without the permission of the government, he said.
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It may be mentioned here that around 129 Myanmar nationals have been put in detention camps after they were arrested a few months back in the district.
The identified structures for the shelter home at Singngat can house at least 200 people.
Taking cognisance of the apprehension of the general public on the issues of an influx of illegal immigrants across the Indo-Myanmar border, the state government has decided to take up immediate steps for proper identification and preventing any foreign national from naturalisation among the native population.
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