A civil society group in Manipur has asked Prime Minister Narendra Modi to provide specialised humanitarian agencies, including the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, unhindered access to Myanmar nationals who fled military repression in their country and crossed over to India.
In a memorandum to the Prime Minister on Thursday, the Citizens Committee Manipur (CCM) also resented the indifference of the Manipur government to the plight of the Myanmar nationals who took refuge in the State, unlike its Mizoram counterpart that took a “natural and culture-bound decision” to help the refugees.
More than 16,000 people living in areas close to the 1,468 km India-Myanmar border are estimated to have crossed over into Mizoram and Manipur since the military takeover of the country in February. Clashes between the Myanmar army and pro-democracy protesters and militias have claimed scores of lives.
‘Historic, cultural ties’
CCM chairman and former Manipur Chief Minister Radhabinod Koijam said the people on either side of the international border have a long historical, demographic and cultural links. “Keeping these in mind, we formed a humanitarian sub-committee under the chairmanship of former Manipur University Vice-Chancellor Amar Yumnam toward mobilising financial and material support for the refugees,” he said.
NGOs and local activists have been providing food, medicine, clothes and other essential items to more than 500 refugees in border villages, the CCM said.