TODAY -

Deport Myanmar refugees, remove AR: Naga CSOs to HM
Source: Chronicle News Service / R Lester Makang

Ukhrul, June 14 2024: Naga civil society organisations in Manipur have written to India's Union Home Ministry, outlining a two-pronged approach to address the prevailing situation along the Indo-Myanmar border.

While demanding repatriation of the illegal immigrants and fugitives from neighbouring Myanmar, the CSOs simultaneously called for withdrawal of Assam Rifles from Kamjong areas at the border.

In a memorandum submitted to Union Home Minister Amit Shah on Friday, the CSOs including United Naga Council (UNC), Naga Women's Union (NWU), All Naga Students' Association Manipur (ANSAM) and Naga Peoples Movement for Human Rights (NPMHR-South) expressed concern over the vulnerable situation at the border region.

The memorandum stated that the matters have been brought up with the Union Home Ministry following the fact-finding visits to Indo-Myanmar border areas by Naga Civil Society organisations, namely UNC, NWU, ANSAM and NPMHR-South on May 23 and 24, 2024 .

It highlighted that the massive inflow of fugitives from Myanmar, who are temporarily taking refuge in Kamjong areas of Manipur since November 2023 in the aftermath of the political upheaval in Myanmar following the coup in 2021 and subsequent fall of Thanan in Myanmar's Sagaing region, have created unbearable hardships to villagers of the areas where the fugitives are given temporary shelters.

"At stake is the survival of the down trodden population-triggering a series of adverse impacts to the livelihood, security and wellbeing of the native inhabitants," it stated, adding that the inmates who are being sheltered in eight Tangkhul Naga villages numbering about 5457 have outnumbered the local residents.

The CSOs further pointed out that increasing activities of anti-social elements are becoming unbearable with no law enforcing agencies to effectively control the same and foreign cultures have overwhelmed the native customary practices due to sheer population imbalances.

"Although, bio-metric have been captured for 5173 persons, monitoring the activities of adult male inmates has become a huge challenge as the authority cannot regularly conduct verification exercises amidst the fluctuating numbers of inmates between daytime and at night in those makeshift refugee camps," the CSOs stated.

The CSOs noted that "the dubious activities of young and adult members are also a cause of concern as their prolonged sojourn in our land will be detrimental to our wellbeing".

'We have extended our hospitality wholeheartedly as a good neighbour and the state government has done its part well.

While expressing our heartfelt sympathy at the plight of fellow human beings, we would urge you to explore ways and means to safely let them return home, now that violent confrontation has subsided in their country," mentioned the joint representation.

At the same time, the CSOs noted with concern over the unwarranted presence of Assam Rifles, regardless of rebuttals issued by PRO IGAR (S) on accusations levelled in the past against the AR.

"In addition to the harsh real ity of life being confronted with by the local residents along the Indo-Myanmar borders, the civil society organisations are appalled to witness massive military mobilisation exercises being conducted along the Indo-Myanmar border and the belligerent attitude of the military personnel operating there despite the Indo-Naga Ceasefire agreement since 1997," it remarked.

According to the CSOs, the Nagas are aware of the violent conflict in the neighbouring country Myanmar and in the state of Manipur with devastating impact.

But there is no valid reason apart from imaginary threat perception as to why Naga villages should be made a turf for war preparedness.

On the pretext of curbing movement of illegal refugees, arms and drug smuggling, the presence of meh in combat camouflage uniform has created fear psychosis and insecurity to the villagers who are already reeling under the impact of massive inflow of fugitives from across the border, they contended.

They decried the occupation of schools and village community halls that are located in the middle of the villages by the security forces, adding that the same has robbed the privacy of the inhabitants and exhausted the scarce resources of the villagers like water, natural resources, etc., depriving the villagers of their basic necessity.

They stated that movement of huge military trucks/lorries at odd hours particularly at night across the borders disturbing the peace and tranquillity of the villagers is highly questionable.

"The villagers have suffered for so long and their human rights violated beyond tolerance," they pointed out, noting that frequent harassment of the trading community has also become the order of the day with restriction of goods laden vehicles for days incurring massive losses to their business venture.

"In the light of the above, we urge your good self to kindly withdraw the Assam Rifles from those areas as we do not foresee any imminent threats as a consequence of the conflict from across the border unless the Union Government of India has any ulterior motive," the CSOs pleaded.


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