Guwahati/Aizawl: Amid violent clashes following the military coup, the number of Myanmar citizens seeking shelter in Mizoram is about 47 including cops and unidentified “higher officials” spread over five districts, sources said on Saturday.
Another state government official said Myanmar authorities have written to them demanding that eight cops be sent back.
Assam Rifles sources said they have inputs of about 24 more individuals crossing over on March 5, taking the total number to 47. The source said these include eight individuals who were “most probably higher officials of Chin State who arrived in five cars, including an ambulance, in Zote village in Champhai district. Their identities are yet to be confirmed, this source said.
The others who arrived on March 5 include two men and a woman in a border village in Siaha, five men who were spotted in Sangau in Lawngtlai who are now with the village council chief, and four men, two women and two children in Lunkawlh in Sercchip district.
According to sources in Assam Rifles which guards the Indo-Myanmar border, the crossing over of Myanmar citizens started on March 1 when four cops arrived in Champhai. A senior official from Mizoram said on condition of anonymity on Friday that eleven of the Myanmar citizens, including a woman, have claimed that they are from the police.
Earlier, at least three Myanmar citizens were sent back on March 4 in Champhai, including one who was “returned” in Zokhawthar and two who were “pushed back”.
Maria CT Zuali, the deputy commissioner of Champhai district, which shares the border with Myanmar, confirmed on Saturday that she has received a letter from her counterpart in Falam district of Chin State on Friday asking to detain and handover the cops to the Myanmar government.
The letter signed by Saw Htun Win, Deputy Commissioner (General Administration Department) mentions that they have inputs of about eight “police personnel from Myanmar Police Force” running away to Indian territories.
While it mentions that these police personnel are in Aizawl and Champhai, it only carries the details including names and photos of the ones in Champhai.
“In order to uphold friendly relations between the two neighbor (sic) countries, you are kindly requested to detain 8 Myanmar police personnel who had arrived to (sic) Indian territories and hand over to Myanmar,” the letter dated March 5, read.
“Whatever reports of people coming in we are receiving, we are sending to the Centre,” said Sanghchin Chinzah, the Home Secretary of Mizoram on Friday. “There are no directions yet from the Ministry of Home Affairs,” she told EastMojo. She did not respond to phone calls seeking a response on Saturday.
A Government of India official said on the condition of anonymity that there seems to be confusion as of now over how to deal with the ongoing situation.
There have instances of Myanmar citizens crossing over to Mizoram due to conflict in the recent past. Over 1,500 refugees had crossed over to Mizoram’s Lawngtlai district in November 2017 after fighting intensified between the Arakan Army, a militant group, and the Myanmar Army. Some of them stayed and were finally sent back in 2019.