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Amid violent ethnic clash, over 700 illegal Myanmar nationals enter Manipur in two days

Meanwhile, the Manipur government has sought a detailed report from the Assam Rifles on how at least 718 Myanmar nationals "were allowed to enter India" without "proper travel documents"

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Imphal: Amid ethnic violence over illegal immigrants and narco-terrorism from neighbouring countries,  hundreds of people from Myanmar crossed over to India through Manipur over the last two days after a fresh bout of violence rocked the neighbouring country, a senior officer of Assam Rifles said on Sunday. 

A total of 718 illegal immigrants including 209 males, 209 females and 301 children entered Manipur due to ongoing clashes at Khampat, a small town in the Sagaing Region of Western Myanmar, Venkata Ravi Kiran J, Lt Col, General Staff Officer-1 (Operation) of Assam Rifles said in a statement. 

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So far, 243 illegal Myanmarese immigrants have arrived in New Lajang, 38 in Bonse village, 89 at New Samtal, 143 at Yangnomphai village, 175 at Yangnomphai Saw Mill and 30 at Aivomjang village. New Lajang, Bonse and New Samtal are border villages in Chandel district bordering Myanmar. While the remaining three villages – Yangnomphai, Yangnomphai Saw Mill and Aivomjang are under the Churachandpur district of Manipur.

Of the 718 illegal immigrants, 13 Myanmarese including two males, three females and eight children entered Manipur’s New Lajang on July 22 and the rest was on July 23, the officer added. 

Interestingly, the fresh influx of large illegal Myanmar nationals comes at a time when two communities – native Meiteis and so-called illegal Kuki-Chin-Zo immigrants were fighting over alleged narco-terrorism and eviction of villagers from forest areas by the Manipur government. 

According to a state government report early this year, a total of 2480 illegal immigrants (refugees) from Myanmar were detected of which 1,147 were in Tengnoupal, 1,175 in Chandel, 154 in Churachandpur, four in Kamjong and none in Pherzawl district of Manipur.

Meanwhile, the Manipur government has sought a detailed report from the Assam Rifles on how at least 718 Myanmar nationals – in just two days i.e. July 22 and 23 – “were allowed to enter India” without “proper travel documents”, according to a statement by the Home Department late on Monday.

The Manipur government said it had clearly informed the Assam Rifles, being the border-guarding force, to take strict action to prevent entry of Myanmar nationals to Manipur on any ground without valid visa or travel documents, as per the instructions of the Home Ministry, said the statement signed by Manipur Chief Secretary Dr Vineet Joshi.

“The state government views the fresh illegal entry of 718 refugees very seriously with utmost sensitivity as the same may have international ramifications more particularly in view of the ongoing law and order issues,” the government said in the statement.

The Manipur government said it has “sought a detailed report from the Assam Rifles authority to clarify on the facts and compelling circumstances/reasons, as to why and how these 718 Myanmar nationals were allowed to enter into India in Chandel district without proper travel documents; along with strict advice to push back those 718 illegal Myanmar nationals immediately.”

The nearly three-month violence has claimed over 150 people and thousands of houses were burned down on both sides.

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