Imphal, Sept. 19: The Okram Ibobi Singh government has launched foreigner detection campaigns all over the state as part of its plan to prevent entry of illegal migrants and deport those already staying in Manipur.
However, the porous Manipur-Myanmar international border has made the task of police of detecting foreigners entering through the border trade town of Moreh in Chandel district difficult.
The police had launched a verification campaign at Muslim Basti, near the Border Gate number 1 last week. Though there were reports that foreigners, mostly Myanmarese nationals, were staying at the border town, the campaign drew a blank.
“The border is porous and therefore it is very difficult for us to detect foreigners. In addition, the free movement of people of both sides for trading activities has made it almost impossible to detect illegal migrants entering and going ahead of Moreh,” a police officer said.
Police stations at Jiribam, the neighbouring Cachar district of Assam and Mao Gate on the Manipur- Nagaland border have also been given instructions to detect foreigners entering Manipur and those already staying there. These three areas are the entry points for illegal immigrants.
Manipur shares a 398km border with Myanmar and hundreds cross the border daily.
While traders from Manipur go to Namphalong, the border market, Myanmarese people enter Moreh to sell goods. There are three markets at Moreh manned by Myanmarese vendors.
People from both sides of the border are allowed to go freely without any document up to 16km on either side.
The two border gates open at 7am and they have to return before 4pm, when the gates are closed. “We could not verify all those entering Moreh. If we check everyone, we will be accused of putting hurdles on the border trade. It is a very difficult situation,” the police officer said.
The Myanmarese vendors enter Moreh even before opening of the border gate, using unmanned roads.
The officer-in-charge of Moreh police station, Okram Doren, said despite the difficulties, they would make efforts to detect foreigners by making frequent raids.
Intelligence sources at Moreh said many anti-social elements from Myanmar had taken asylum there and other places to evade capture by the Myanmarese government.
“Many people of the Arakan community of Myanmar have entered Moreh and we cannot not say where all have gone from here. Even one of them married a local girl and settled down here,” a resident said.
Assam Rifles personnel man the border and 10km border fencing is under construction. The police said until the entire border was sealed, influx would be difficult to stop.