Myanmar Nationals found illegally settled in Tengnoupal's Maring area
'Cross border movement seen more near AR post'
Source: The Sangai Express

Imphal, June 17 2024: A significant number of Myanmar Nationals who had infiltrated into Manipur through the porous border have been found illegally settled in Maring areas of Tengnoupal district.

The illegal Myanmar Nationals were found settled within Lamlong Khunou Circle near Border Pillars 82 to 89, said a report published by the India TodayNE quoting Rilram Area Maring Organisation (RAMO) .

Notably, the State Government authorities seem unaware of this ongoing illegal immigration taking place in the border district, said the report.

It also highlighted that the cross border movement of Myanmar Nationals is particularly observed more in areas near Assam Rifles' post, added the IndiaTodayNE report.

Manipur has around 400 km of unfenced border with Myanmar, and the Assam Rifles is tasked to man the border.

Myanmar Nationals found illegally settled in Tengnoupal's Maring area
Myanmar Nationals found illegally settled in Tengnoupal's Maring area

This fresh detection came amid the State Government's effort to identify and deport Myanmar Nationals and rising security concerns due to ongoing violent conflict which started on May 3, 2023 .

While Chief Minister N Biren Singh has repeatedly pointed out infiltration of Myanmar Nationals into Manipur as one of the reasons for the ongoing conflict, Union Minister Amit Shah has in the past said illegal immigrants were exacerbating the crisis in Manipur.

As per the India TodayNE report, the Rilram Area Maring Organisation (RAMO) said the illegal Myanmar Nationals were found settled near the border during inspections carried out in several villages within Lamlong Khunou Circle.

RAMO said the Maring villages' chiefs had alerted them about the presence of the illegal Myanmar Nationals.

The chiefs were facing difficulties in "managing the influx of Myanmarese" .

It further stated that the unauthorized settlers were observed moving freely between Myanmar and India during late-night hours, exploiting what appears to be lapses in border surveillance, particularly near the Assam Rifles outpost nearby.

The State Government seems unaware of this ongoing illegal immigration, raising concerns about the effectiveness of border security measures amidst heightened tensions between the Kuki and Meitei communities, said the report.

Significantly, amid the ongoing conflict, the State Govt has so far repatriated 115 Myanmar Nationals including women and children to the neighbouring country that is now marred by deadly fighting between Junta forces and militants since February 2021 coup.

Even as India has suspended the Free Movement Regime which allowed people of both countries to venture 16 Km into each other's territory without any documents, Myanmar Nationals, mostly belonging to the Kuki-Chin community have crossed the unfenced Indo-Myanmar border into Manipur.

There have also been reports of Chin-Kuki militants helping Myanmar Nationals cross the border into Manipur.

While there has always been infiltration from across the border, more than 8,000 Myanmar Nationals have taken shelter in several districts of Manipur since the coup in Myanmar.

Sources in the Government, on the other hand, said the actual number of illegal Myanmar Nationals settling in Manipur may be far greater.

In recent months, there has been a surge in the number of refugees in several districts in the hills including Kamjong, bordering Myanmar.

The Government in May this year had said it had identified as many as 5,457 Myanmar Nationals in Kamjong district, and the biometrics of 5,173 of them had been recorded.

Alarmed by the increasing influx of Myanmar Nationals in Kamjong, several Naga civil organisations including the United Naga Council (UNC) recently had written to the Union Home Minister urging the Government to repatriate illegal Myanmar immigrants to their country.

The memorandum was submitted by the Naga bodies after visiting the Indo-Myanmar border areas on a fact-finding mission.

The Naga civil bodies had sounded alarm and stressed that the around 5,457 illegal immigrants from Myanmar being sheltered in eight Tangkhul villages in Kamjong have outnumbered the local residents.

The issue of illegal immigrants and demographic changes it brought has often cropped up amid the ongoing conflict in Manipur.

Increasing and uncontrolled influx of illegal immigrants has been attributed to unnatural growth of population and mushrooming of new villages in some hill districts in Manipur.

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