Other States

Myanmar seeks return of fleeing police personnel

At least four of more than 50 people who have fled from coup-hit Myanmar to Mizoram are policemen, a letter from the head of a border district in Myanmar has revealed.

Deputy Commissioner of Mizoram’s Champhai district Maria C.T. Zuali confirmed having received a letter from Saw Htun Win, her counterpart in Myanmar’s Falam district on Friday night. The letter sought the detention of “Myanmar police personnel who had runaway towards Indian territories and [their] hand over to Myanmar”.

The official letter said eight personnel from the Myanmar police force had crossed over to India with four having reached Mizoram capital Aizawl and four taking shelter in Champhai.

The letter named four police personnel — a lieutenant corporal and three constables, one of them a 25-year-old woman.

“In order to uphold friendly relations between the two neighbor countries, you are kindly requested to detain 8 Myanmar police personnel who had arrived to Indian territories and hand over to Myanmar,” read the letter dated March 5.

“I have received the letter and have intimated the Chief Secretary,” Ms. Zuali said.

There have been reports of several Myanmar police personnel deserting the force to join the civil disobedience movement, particularly in areas dominated by the ethnic minorities. Sixteen police personnel in Kachin State’s Putao township said they do not want to serve under the military dictatorship.

At least 20 such deserting policemen in areas inhabited by the Chin community — ethnically related to the Mizos of Mizoram — have fled the country fearing death. Some have come with their families.

Assam Rifles personnel guarding the border said 24 people crossed over on Friday. Mizoram’s Lok Sabha member C. Lalrosanga had confirmed the arrival of 23 people earlier.

Eight people who sought refuge on Friday came in five vehicles to Zote village in Champhai district bordering Myanmar. Local officials said they appeared to be higher officials of Chin State across the border. At least three people, including a woman, reached a border village in Siaha district while five others took refuge at Sangau village in Lawngtlai district.

The Champhai district authorities said they sent back three Myanmar citizens on March 4.

Mizoram’s Home Secretary Sanghchin Chinzah told journalists in Aizawl that the State government has been sending reports to the Centre on the people coming in. “We have not received any direction from the Ministry of Home Affairs,” she said.

People from Myanmar have periodically crossed over to Mizoram due to conflicts in the neighbouring country. More than 1,500 refugees had crossed over to Lawngtlai district in November 2017 after a series of encounters between the extremist Arakan Army and the Tatmadaw, the Myanmar military. Some of them stayed back until 2019.

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Printable version | Apr 20, 2021 1:54:03 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/myanmar-seeks-return-of-fleeing-police-personnel/article34007741.ece

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