Incursion from across border Wake up to the reality
The Government should wake up to the reality that is staring everyone in the face. In the month January alone, over 80 Myanmar Nationals have been detected and pulled up with the latest information being the arrest of four Myanmarese. This is not all, for less than a year ago, that is on June 28, at least 80 Myanmar Nationals were pulled up at Churachandpur. Add the escape of three Myanmarese Nationals from a detention centre at Churachandpur just a few days back, with no further report on whether they have been traced or not, and things does not look comfortable. The situation is indeed disturbing and with the military crackdown at the neighbouring country one can imagine the number of such refugees who have crossed into the soil of Manipur. The porous Indo-Myanmar border has only made things more complicated and the reality can perhaps be summed up by the fact that even though the border gate is yet to be officially opened, after it was closed when the pandemic was at its height, goods from across the border continue to be freely available in Imphal. If goods can make their way through the border, then why not humans or in this case refugees ? This is the grim reality and the disturbing point is that Myanmarese will not have much of a problem in mingling with the local population and over a period of time becoming a ‘part and parcel’ of the people of Manipur particularly as there are communities here which share filial ties with the people of Myanmar. The focus of the Government at the moment will obviously be on the War on Drugs, but yet at the same time it cannot afford to shut its eyes on the great human movement from across the border. The real danger lies in the fact that those coming from Myanmar illegally can easily merge with some of the local communities here, as physically marking them out would be tough. This can have dangerous implications and the possibility of the foreign elements merging with one of the communities here and then claiming the scarce resources of the land as their ancestral land is something which cannot be written off at all. The danger is real, very real and the past should more than say how claims have been laid on the ancestral lands of the indigenous folks. And this is where the perils of the Meiteis, without any Constitutional protection, can and should be understood.
It was with a reason why The Sangai Express in its earlier commentaries here had suggested that the Government at Imphal may take a cue from the Government of Mizoram and open refugee camps. Such a step can be one of the most effective measures to keep a track on the movement and activities of the refugees from across the border. In the absence of such a step, the possibility of the refugees mingling and merging with the local people is a distinct possibility and the detection of over 80 such refugees, taking shelter amongst the local folks at Churachandpur in June last year should drive home this point. Hundreds have been detected and hauled up, but there could be hundreds more who have remained undetected and have managed to merge with the local population. This is what the Government should be wary about. Look into the future, try and see how things can possibly be like if no mechanisms are put in place to monitor the movement of the refugees from across the border. The very fact that about 200 refugees have been detected in the last one year or so should more than say that there are no effective measures to put a complete stop to cross border movement. This is the fact and perhaps penalties may also be imposed on those found providing shelter to the illegal migrants from across the border.