Residents avoid venturing deep inside Myanmar terrority following the death of two Indian traders on February 11.

Though the residents of the border town Moreh have suspended the sealing off the international border protesting against the abduction and murder of two Indian traders, S. Singh from Uttar Pradesh and Dhan Singh from Mumbai, near Tamu in Myanmar on February 11, most of the Indian traders are avoiding venturing deep inside the country as there is a sense of insecurity and fear psychosis.

Indications are that the murderers who are still at large will never be accounted for. The residents were upset over the lukewarm response from the Myanmarese government on the issue.

The Manipur government had announced an exgratia of Rs. 5 lakh to each of the bereaved family members and assured to pursue the probe in coordination with Myanmar.

Prior to the legalisation of the border trade on May 12, 1995, the Myanmarese traders used to bring various commercial items to Moreh. Businessmen, mostly Tamils who were displaced from some cities in Myanmar, used to buy these items in wholesale and sell it to the retail market. However, after the legalisation of the border trade, the military rulers had constructed a marketing complex at Namphalong just across the international gate as the traders wanted to sell the goods to the Indian counterpart direct.

Indian traders can go to Namphalong without any restrictions. However they have to pay Rs 10 as the immigration fee if he wants to go to the Tamu market about 30 km from the international gate. In sharp contrast, there is no such system in Manipur resulting in the arrest of Myanmarese nationals inside the state territory. Some of them had been sent to long prison terms. Though shops and vendors sell most of the items at more or less equal prices, sources said that the drug addicts and traffickers do get heroin from some business women at Tamu. There is no official mechanism to frisk the traders returning from Tamu to Moreh. Some of the traffickers had established cordial personal relations to such an extent that drugs costing huge amounts are taken on credit.

Police and anti-narcotic personnel have been confiscating such drugs which are banned in Manipur in view of the abuse by the drug addicts. One high-ranking army officer who was arrested is now in judicial custody facing trial.