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Manipur: Biren’s Cabinet sub-committee identifies site to shelter Myanmar refugees

Stringent legal action will also be initiated against anyone found harbouring or providing accommodation/shelter without the permission of the government.

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Churachandpur: Close on the heels of the Cabinet Sub-Committee on Identification of Illegal Immigrants identifying a shelter home in Chandel and Tengnoupal districts for displaced Myanmar nationals, the Sub-Committee members visited Singngat Sub-divisional Headquarters on Saturday and identified a site for setting up another temporary shelter home for Myanmar nationals who fled their country in the wake of the unrest there.

Chairman of the Cabinet Sub-committee set up by the State government to look after the rehabilitation of Myanmar nationals, Letpao Haokip, Minister of Tribal Affairs and Hill Development, was accompanied by other members – Water Resource Minister Shri Awangbow Newmai; Education Minister, Th Basantakumar Singh; T Ranjit, Commissioner (Home); Kabib K., IGP (Int); and Priyadarshni Laishram, SP (Immigration). 

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Along with officials of Churachandpur District Administration, including Deputy Commissioner Sharath Arroju and SP Shivanand Surve, the team identified four barracks inside the Singngat Police Station complex for the shelter home.

Addressing the district officials at Singngat PS, Shri Letpao Haokip said that Myanmar nationals who fled their country against the backdrop of the unrest there should be identified and kept in a shelter home. They will be provided food, lodging facilities, and other basic amenities, including health care, on humanitarian grounds. 

Identity cards should also be issued to the inmates. They should be allowed to stay in the camp until normalcy returns to their home country or any order in this regard is made by the state or central authority. 

“The crux here is to monitor their movement closely and deport all of them once normalcy returns in their home country,” Letpao said. 

The committee members also shared thoughts on the modus operandi for identifying any Myanmar nationals who are feared to have sneaked into the state’s territory. The district officials were also briefed to encourage individuals and village authorities not to harbour foreign nationals and instead report the presence of foreign nationals in their jurisdiction so that they do not mix freely with the natives. 

Deputy Commissioner of Churachandpur Sharath Arroju said that intensive verification drives will again start in the district based on intelligence reports by teams comprising police, SDO staff, biometric personnel, etc. 

SP Shivanand Surve also briefed the members about the verification drive undertaken by the district police for the identification of Myanmar nationals.

Speaking to local reporters later at DC’s office chamber here, Letpao Haokip said that any Myanmar nationals who are found avoiding the shelter camp should be dealt with severely. He urged all those concerned to extend cooperation to the state government. He also encouraged the Myanmar nationals to come forward and register their names with the local authority and not to be apprehensive about the steps taken by the government of Manipur. 

The Minister said that they (foreign nationals) will not be arrested or detained but will be provided all humanitarian assistance temporarily till the situation favours their return or any decision in this  regard is taken up by the competent central or state authorities. 

Stringent legal action will also be initiated against anyone found harbouring or providing accommodation/shelter without the permission of the government.

It may be mentioned here that around 129 Myanmar nationals have been put in detention camps after they were arrested a few months ago in the district. 

Responding to a query, Letpao said that the detained Myanmar nationals are safe in the detention centre.

The identified structures for shelter homes today at Singngat have the capacity to house at least 200 people. 

Taking cognizance of the apprehension of the general public on the issue of the influx of illegal immigrants across the Indo-Myanmar border, the state government is warranted to take up immediate steps for proper identification and preventing any foreign national from naturalisation among the native population.

The subcommittee has also identified similar shelter homes in Tengnoupal and Chandel districts.

Caretaker Chairman of ADC Churachandpur Khaipao Haokip also joined the team during the visit today.

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