Myanmar man dies at detention centre

Guwahati, Feb 27: The death of a Myanmar National at the Foreigner Detention Centre (FDC) near Sajiwa jail in Manipur’s Imphal East district has drawn desperate appeals from rights groups to secure refugee rights for people fleeing junta atrocities since the February 2021 coup.
Lamkhochon Guite, 32, from Sayarsan village of Myanmar’s Tamu township died in the wee hours of Sunday, police confirmed. He was lodged at the detention centre along with 70 Myanmarese Nationals arrested on January 27 from Moreh sub-division in the border district of Tengnoupal.
The post-mortem was conducted Sunday afternoon at the Jawaharlal Nehru Institute of Medical Sciences, Imphal after which the remains were handed over to the family members of the deceased currently living at Moreh town. Sources close to the family said Guite leaves behind his wife and a four-year-old son.
“It’s very unfortunate. It seems he had a cardiac arrest while in sleep, but we will wait for autopsy results. There is nothing to suggest foul play. They (Myanmar refugees) were sleeping in the same room, and he was a healthy person. He never complained of any sickness,” Sholal Touthang, Superintendent of Prison (SP) of Manipur Central Jail, Sajiwa told The Print.
However, blaming the Manipur Government for “poor conditions at the detention centre”, the Government-appointed lawyer for the Myanmar refugees, David (goes by one name only), said “lack of facilities” might have led to this situation.
“When I received the news past midnight, I went to the detention centre and spoke with the inmates. They said they heard noises, and people gathered around him (deceased). Some tried to revive him. They took him to the medical inspection room, and he was declared dead,” David told ThePrint.
“They are made to sleep on the floor, which is very cold. There are elderly inmates above 60 years of age, couple of them with multiple surgeries or cardiac issues. If they have to sleep on the floor for days and weeks, such complications are bound to happen. It is the State Government’s fault,” David alleged.
The refugees in Manipur are mostly from Sagaing Region, Chin State and Magway region of Myanmar. They largely belong to the same ethnic group or Kuki-Chin-Zomi-Mizo tribe, bound by ethnic and kin ties.
The India for Myanmar group, an independent grassroots advocacy movement, cited ground report estimate of about “10,000 Myanmar refugees in Manipur, 50 per cent of which include women and children.” The Print