Manipur Chief minister N. Biren Singh said on Wednesday that schools may be arranged by the State government for “refugees from Myanmar,” but since it was a bilateral issue, they were awaiting directions from the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA).
Mr. Singh told The Hindu on the phone that several persons from Myanmar “attempted to sneak” into India from the Manipur border but returned on seeing the presence of large number of security personnel. Manipur shares a 398 km border with Myanmar.
More than a dozen foreign nationals including policemen and women from Myanmar have fled to neighbouring Mizoram fearing a military crackdown.
“I have requested Home Minister Amit Shah to tell us what to do. If you ask me it is a humanitarian issue but since it is a bilateral issue between India and Myanmar, I have to speak to the Centre,” Mr. Singh said.
When asked if arrangements have been done to house the people fleeing the Myanmar military, Mr. Singh said, “Schools etc. may be arranged, we are almost ready but awaiting directions.”
“We had alerted the border and deployed additional security forces there. There is no exodus so far but we are expecting many people to come here,” he said, adding, “We are prepared to give shelter to any civilian.”
MHA has refused to comment on the future course of action pertaining to the refugees from Myanmar.
The Mizoram government has also rued lack of instructions from the Centre on the issue. Mizoram’s Environment and Transport Minister T.J. Lalnungtluanga had told The Hindu on Tuesday, “There is no proper instruction from the Centre, and it is not fair. I am ready to help the people in my individual capacity and from the government on humanitarian grounds.”
Chief Secy in Delhi
Mizoram Chief Secretary Lalnunmawia Chuaungo flew to Delhi on Tuesday even though the legislative Assembly is in session. He is likely to have met senior MHA officials.
In an interview to the BBC, police officers from Myanmar who fled across the border into Mizoram said “they escaped, fearing they’d be forced to kill or harm civilians.”