TODAY -

Rounding up Myanmarese : Reality Bites or Bite
- The Sangai Express Editorial :: June 30, 2022 -



A case of reality biting as in Reality Bites or a case of the truth staring Manipur right in the face as in Reality Bite ?

The answer could be either, but it was not at all surprising to hear and read that at least 80 Myanmar Nationals have been rounded up during a drive conducted by Churachandpur police.

Given that Manipur shares 398 kilometres of porous border with Myanmar it was more than obvious that refugees would be knocking at the doors of the State after the military coup of February 1, 2021 and the 80 people who have been rounded up could just be the tip of the proverbial iceberg.

More than obvious that the Centre too had expected influx (termed illegal influx), after the military coup as many would be fleeing the neighbouring country to escape the crackdown launched by the Tatmadaw (Myanmar Army) against what they perceive to be loyalists of the democratically elected Government earlier, and it was along this line that the Centre had written to the four North Eastern States of Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur, Nagaland and Mizoram to take appropriate action as per law to check illegal influx from Myanmar into India.

This line was communicated to the North Eastern States in March 2021, just one month after the coup and it was perfectly in line with what was happening at Myanmar.

And so it is that it is against this reality that Manipur has rounded up at least 80 Myanmar Nationals for having entered the State illegally and this is where the State Government would need to study certain points with the merit they deserve.

It is a humanitarian crisis out there at Myanmar and it is obvious that the crackdown on pro-democracy activists will continue. And it is amid this humanitarian crisis that Manipur will also need to come to terms with the reality.

Influx from the neighbouring country is a given and there is a reason why there is the general belief that illegal influx was rife even before the coup at Myanmar with illegal migrants today flooding Manipur.

Again it is against this reality that the State Government has decided to fix the base year for the Inner Line Permit at 1961, even though this is much against the demand raised by the JCILPS that the base year should be 1951.

This is the reality here in Manipur and practical wisdom says that in as much as there is the need to check illegal influx, it would be inhuman to close the doors on the refugees who come knocking at the doors to save themselves and their children.

Not exactly throwing open the doors to the refugees, but it would certainly help to work out a model, such as the one that has been worked out at Mizoram.

Like the neighbouring State, Manipur too has a number of communities which have close filial ties with the people of Myanmar and in such a case it would not exactly be practical to tell them to shut the door on their brethren from across the border.

Taking a leaf or two out Mizoram and opening refugee camps to monitor the movement of the refugees could be one answer.

At least such a measure will help the State Government and its agencies in monitoring the movement of the refugees so that they do not go and melt into the local populace.

And yes when the situation improves in the neighbouring country, they may well be asked to return home.

The situation is complex, no doubt, for here one is talking about the need to protect the sanctity of Manipur and stop illegal influx while on the other side it is a question of taking cognizance of the fact that what is happening at Myanmar is a humanitarian crisis.



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