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“Misconstrued”: Manipur Government Withdraws ‘No Refuge For Myanmarese’ Order

The order, issued on March 26, had asked border officials to “politely turn away” Myanmar nationals seeking refuge in India due to the humanitarian crisis unfolding there. 

An earlier order issued by the Manipur government against local authorities setting up food and shelter camps for Myanmar nationals entering Indian border in the wake of ongoing turmoil in the neighbouring country. The order, issued on March 26, had asked border officials to “politely turn away” those seeking refuge in India.

In its instructions to the deputy commissioners of Chandel, Tengnoupal, Kamjong, Ukhrul, and Churachandpur, the state home department had even asked them to ensure that Aadhar enrolment was stopped immediately and the kits used in the procedure were taken to safe custody.

By today, the officials were asked to submit an ‘action taken report’ on the matter.

However, in yesterday’s letter, the home department withdrew the order and wrote to the same officials again.

In yesterday’s letter, special home secretary H Gyan Prakash, said: “It appears that the contents of the letter have been misconstrued and interpreted differently…In order to avoid this misunderstanding I am directed to convey the decision of the government that it has decided to withdraw the letter dated 26.03.2021 mentioned above.”

“The government has been taking all humanitarian steps…including taking them (refugees) to Imphal, to treat the injured Myanmarese nationals. The state government continues to provide all aid,” he wrote.

Earlier, Myanmar’s Ambassador to the United Nations had appealed to India and the various governments of its states bordering the country to provide shelter to refugees given the humanitarian crisis unfolding there.

Ever since the neighbouring country’s military junta opened fire on protesting civilians in nine regions of the country on Friday, killing scores of people, including children, India has been expecting refugees from Myanmar.

The Biren Singh government’s order for Manipur received a lot of flak, with many people calling it inhuman and going against India’s long-cherished tradition of Atithi devo bhava.

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