Despite appeals by human rights groups, 38 Myanmar nationals deported from Manipur

The human rights bodies appealed for the refugees to stay in Manipur till democracy is restored in their country.
Last Updated : 12 June 2024, 13:59 IST

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Guwahati: Despite appeals by Myanmar-based human rights groups not to hand over the 'refugees' to the military regime, 38 Myanmar nationals were deported through the border at Moreh in Manipur on Tuesday.

The human rights bodies appealed for the refugees to stay in Manipur till democracy is restored in their country.

The Myanmar nationals had taken shelter in Manipur following the military coup in 2021.

"They have been handed over safely to Myanmar authorities by the Immigration Officers of Government of India posted at ICP, Moreh. The state government is continuing the identification of illegal immigrants and remains steadfast in its resolve to deport them. Let’s keep our borders and country secure," Manipur CM N Biren Singh disclosed the development on X, on Wednesday. 

The deportation was done amid the Meitei-Kuki conflict in Manipur and growing demand from the majority Meitei community to act against the 'illegal migrants' belonging to Kuki-Zo-Chin communities living in the state.

In March this year, 77 Myanmar nationals were similarly deported in batches from Manipur. Singh earlier said that all the illegal migrants from Myanmar, who were provided shelter on humanitarian grounds, would be deported.

As the deportation started in March this year, Burma Refugee Committee-Kabaw Valley, a pro-democracy human rights organisation in Myanmar, urged the Manipur government to hold deportation of Myanmar nationals on humanitarian grounds as the same could land them in the hands of the military junta. 

Conflict in Myanmar

Situation in Myanmar has remained volatile since the military took over the elected government in 2021 and subsequently launched an armed crackdown against the pro-democracy forces including members and supporters of political parties.

This forced over 40,000 Myanmar nationals including MPs and MLAs to take shelter in Mizoram, Manipur and Nagaland.

Manipur, Nagaland, Mizoram and Arunachal Pradesh share a 1,643km border with Myanmar. While Mizoram government has provided shelters to Myanmar nationals, the Manipur government was compelled to take up the deportation following the conflict.

Meiteis demanded that Myanmar nationals should be deported as continuous influx posed a threat to identity, culture and land rights of the indigenous communities in Manipur. 

Published 12 June 2024, 13:59 IST

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