Guwahati/Aizawl: Amid clashes between the military and pro-democracy protestors following the coup, Myanmar citizens continue to cross over to the Indo-Myanmar border state of Mizoram, multiple officials confirmed on Friday amid confusion over the numbers, which is now estimated to be 19 persons spread over four districts.
This number includes at least 11 who claim to be police personnel even as state officials said they are awaiting instructions from the Centre for the next course of action.
Official sources said that the Assam Rifles have clear instructions from the Centre to not allow any illegal crossings, but the paramilitary force personnel have now taken a step back, fearing a confrontation with the district officials and state police. Chief Minister Zoramthanga has promised shelter and relief to those who seek refuge even as the state anticipates the arrival of more people fleeing Myanmar.
“Last night we received reports of three persons of a family arriving in a remote border village,” said B Lalchhawntluanga, Additional Deputy Commissioner, Siaha. “They seem to be civilians. We are yet to receive their complete details. We have sent a Block Development Officer,” he said.
A senior official from Mizoram said on condition of anonymity that eleven of the Myanmar citizens, including a woman, have claimed that they are from the police. Two of the police personnel have crossed over with their families, this official said.
Security sourced told EastMojo on Thursday that 11 persons, including four policemen, have crossed over from Myanmar. This included four in Champhai, three in Serrchip and a family of four persons in Hnahthial. One person who did not have any identification document was ”returned” back to Myanmar at Zokhawthar.
Kumar Abhishek, Deputy Commissioner, Serchhip told EastMojo that the number of Myanmar citizens crossing over to the district has risen to eight. “Three persons arrived on Wednesday while another five came on Thursday,” Abhishek said refusing to disclose their identities. “They are currently lodged in a community hall. Their COVID-19 tests have been done. We have informed the Home Department officials and are awaiting instructions,” he said, adding that those who are currently taking shelter include a family of three while the remaining are individuals.
An official in Champhai said the four persons who arrived in the district have been kept at an education department building. The Mizoram Home Department official quoted above said that the Mizoram government on Thursday informed the Centre about the situation and possible influx of more refugees from Myanmar.
Abhishek told EastMojo that they were anticipating more people to crossover. Champhai district deputy commissioner Maria CT Zuali said about 125 Myanmar citizens have tried to cross over at the border village of Farkawn while several others have attempted from other routes.
“The district administration and the Assam Rifles personnel guarding the border will continue to stop them from entering Mizoram unless there is a direction from the higher authorities to let them in,” she said.
“Whatever reports of people coming in we are receiving, we are sending to the Centre,” said Sanghchin Chinzah, the Home Secretary of Mizoram. “There are no directions yet from the Ministry of Home Affairs,” she said.
Sources said Assam Rifles have taken a “step back” fearing a confrontation with the district officials and the state police. “The Assam Rifles have clear instructions from the Centre to not allow any illegal crossings,” this source said. “The Assam Rifles personnel are now observing and monitoring the situation and not controlling the refugees,” this source said.
Meanwhile, Chief Minister Zoramthanga has promised all help to those who have crossed over fleeing the junta. “We have learnt that several refugees have crossed over to Mizoram. We will provide shelter and relief to those who seek refuge in the state till their return to their country,” he said on Friday, addressing a programme to celebrate Chapchar Kut, a major Mizo festival. “We have sanctioned money for the purpose,” he said.