The legalised border trade along Moreh in Manipur came to a standstill from 6 p.m. on Tuesday as the traders and residents sealed off the border from 6 p.m. as there was no response from the Myanmarese government to the deadline set for the release two Indian traders.
The two persons Shashinder Singh from Uttar Pradesh and Dhan Singh from Mumbai had gone to Tamu market about 30 km away from the international gate on February 11. They had bought immigration tickets from the international gate by paying Rs. 10 each. However they failed to return to India within the stipulated time.
On Monday the community leaders at Moreh held a meeting. It was resolved that the Myanmarese government would be asked to ensure safe return of these two traders who had been eking out a living in Manipur by repairing gas stove and selling accessories. They were to be sent back by 3 p.m. on Tuesday. If it is not done the international border would be sealed off. Foreign goods worth over Rs. 3 crore are brought daily towards India. These exclude drugs, illegal weapons and other contraband goods.
Police at Moreh cannot obtain any official information on the whereabouts of these two missing Indians. In the past even presspersons who stayed back beyond the stipulated hours were sent to prisons. It is also possible that these two Sikhs had been taken for interrogation by insurgents who might suspect them to be army personnel.
Most of the traders and tourists who had gone to Moreh to buy foreign goods have come back to Imphal. There is no obstruction to the vehicular movement inside Manipur at the border areas. Official sources said that the Manipur government will approach the union government to make inquiries at diplomatic level on the whereabouts of these two missing Indians.