Updated: March 4, 2021 9:25:28 pm
Four Myanmar police officers crossed over into India and are seeking refuge in the country, district authorities in Champhai, Mizoram, told indianexpress.com. Champhai is a border town close to the Indo-Myanmar border and serves as a cross-border trading center.
The Myanmar nationals crossed the border on the night of February 28 and were found on the morning of March 1, a district official confirmed.
Reuters reported on Thursday that at least 19 Myanmar police officials had sought refuge in India, crossing into the Champhai and Serchhip districts, but Champhai district authorities told indianexpress.com that they only have knowledge of four individuals.
On February 1, Myanmar’s military seized power in a coup against the democratically-elected government of Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi. Following the coup, Indian security forces had intensified vigil along the 1,643-km-long Indo-Myanmar border, a border security force had told indianexpress.com.
“The border is porous, and they are crossing on foot. They weren’t armed,” the Champhai district official said requesting anonymity. The four Myanmar nationals were found by locals early morning on March 1 near the Indo-Myanmar border in Champhai, who alerted district officials.
“According to protocol, we have given them accommodation, food and security because they can’t just be left roaming around. Especially given the sensitivity of the situation and the proximity to the border, there are concerns for their safety as well,” the official said.
The Myanmar police officials are being regarded as refugees by the local administration which has alerted the Home Ministry, under whose jurisdiction these kinds of cases are processed. Mizoram state police is in charge of the security of the four Myanmar nationals.
“For now, they are being categorised as asylum seekers. We are waiting for more instructions from the Home Ministry on how to proceed,” the Champhai district official said. With violence and unrest against protesters increasing in Myanmar, local administration in Mizoram expects more Myanmar nationals to cross the Indo-Myanmar border seeking asylum in the coming days.
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