India state reverses order turning away Myanmar refugees
India’s border state of Manipur has withdrawn an order that told
officials to “politely turn away” refugees crossing over from Myanmar.
The state’s home ministry said its instructions had been “misconstrued”.
The earlier order was issued amid reports of refugees entering Manipur
after a coup in Myanmar last month.
Protesters against the takeover have been met with increasing force
the military is reported to have killed more than 500 people since 1 February.
Thousands have reportedly been attempting to flee across the border to
Thailand too only to be turned back by Thai soldiers.
The government in Bangkok has said it will “respect human rights”
of refugees, but wants to avoid an “exodus”.
There has been outrage around the world at the bloodshed
resulting from use of lethal force by the Myanmar
security forces against unarmed civilians.
On Tuesday, the home ministry in Manipur in India’s north-east
issued a second order saying the state government was taking
“all humanitarian steps” and “continues to provide all aid”,
including treating any injured refugees from Myanmar,
also called Burma.
While the first order, dated 26 March, had said anyone with
“grievous injuries” could receive medical attention,
it prohibited the setting up of camps that provide food or shelter.
It also asked officials to stop any attempts to enroll refugees in
India’s national biometric ID scheme, Aadhaar.
“People trying to enter/seek refuge should be politely
turned away,” the order said.
An agreement between the two countries allows Indians
and Burmese to cross the border and stay up to 14 days.
But the border has been closed since March last year due to Covid-19.
It’s hard to say how many refugees from Myanmar have entered India
since the coup but some estimates put the number at 700.
The numbers are expected to increase as violence against
anti-coup protesters continues.
Earlier this month, a group of police officers from Myanmar
crossed into another state in India’s north-east, Mizoram.
on the orders of the military.
On 1 February, security forces, led by Min Aung Hlaing and his generals,
seized control of Myanmar, unseating the democratically elected government.
They detained Aung San Suu Kyi whose National League for Democracy
(NLD) party had won a recent general election by a landslide.
Protests against the coup have been brutally suppressed – at least
510 people have now been killed in the violence since 1 February,
according to a monitoring group. The Assistance Association for
Political Prisoners (AAPP) said the true figure was probably higher.
More than 100 people, including children, were killed on Saturday alone.
Media caption Violent scenes were seen on the streets of
Myanmar during its deadliest day
That day the generals held a military parade to commemorate
the annual Armed Forces Day, the start of Myanmar’s military
resistance against Japanese occupation in 1945.
India was one of the countries whose representatives attended the
parade, drawing some criticism. Officials from Russia, China, Pakistan,
Bangladesh, Vietnam, Laos and Thailand were also at the parade,
That same night, the generals threw a lavish gala, which sparked
outrage and condemnation.