GUWAHATI: The Assam Rifles, which guards the India-Myanmar border, has deployed its personnel along the border in Mizoram to prevent the possible infiltration of Arakan Army insurgents from the neighbouring country. Members of the Arakan Army, an insurgent group of ethnic Muslims in Myanmar, are reportedly on the run in the wake of a stepped-up offensive against them by the Myanmar military.
Caught in the crossfire between the military and the insurgent group, some 1,200 Myanmarese have fled to Lawngtlai district in Mizoram over the past few days. State authorities now fear that the rebels, too, might try and sneak in for safety. Chief Minister Lal Thanhawla told The New Indian Express that the Assam Rifles and the police have been keeping a close vigil along the border.
“There has not been any armed infiltration as yet. These refugees belong to Mizo ethnic groups and they had to flee to Mizoram as they were caught in the crossfire. Since they are poor and innocent people, the state government is providing them with food and shelter on humanitarian ground. They have been kept in makeshift accommodations,” he said.
The CM said since Lawngtlai was one of the remotest parts of Mizoram with no road connectivity, it was difficult to ensure the needs of the refugees. “There are children and sick people among them. They are being treated with the help of the Assam Rifles. If the drive against the militants continues, it is likely that more people will flee to Mizoram. The incident has been reported to the Centre. We will send them back as early as possible in consultations with the authorities in Myanmar,” he added.
As per an agreement between India and Myanmar, locals on either side can move up to 16 km within each other’s territory without documents and stay there for a while.
1,200 from Myanmar flee to Mizoram
More than 1,200 Myanmar nationals have fled to Mizoram following a crackdown on Arakan Army insurgents there. Mizoram CM said these people were ethnic Mizos and had to flee as they were caught in the crossfire between the military and the militants. The state is providing them food and shelter on humanitarian grounds, he said.