Imphal, Feb. 18: Authorities have failed so far to trace two traders, hailing from Uttar Pradesh and Maharashtra, who went missing from Tamu in Myanmar on February 11.
The duo had entered the town from Moreh in Manipur to do business.
Residents of Moreh launched an indefinite strike at Moreh from 6 this morning to mount pressure on authorities to find the traders. The bandh is likely to affect border trade.
Sources said Sanvendar Singh, 30, from Chandpur in Bijnoor district of Uttar Pradesh and Daljeet Singh, 33, of Amrut Nagar in Ghatkopar (West) of Mumbai, Maharashtra, had not returned from Tamu where they had gone to sell school equipment.
Sources said the duo entered Tamu through the number 2 border gate at Moreh along with four other traders. While the other four returned to Moreh the same day, Sanvendar and Daljeet did not. The four reported the matter to government authorities at Moreh. The relatives of the missing traders arrived at Moreh today.
The two arrived at Moreh, 109km south of Imphal, about one month back on a business trip. They were selling household articles and school uniforms, belts, neckties and other accessories in the town and were staying at a local hotel. Sources at Moreh said the two crossed the border with the intention to sell their goods in the neighbouring country. “Officials on both sides of the border are keeping in touch and we are trying to locate their whereabouts. We have no information on what could have happened to the two traders,” an official source said.
Myanmarese officials manning the gate said today that the authorities were trying to trace the duo. They said the traders entered Tamu after getting necessary passes from the Myanmarese authorities. “The pass was given to them only for entering Tamu town and not beyond. We have no information of their whereabouts,” an official said.
Authorities at Moreh fear Myanmarese authorities could have picked up the duo after they went beyond the permitted area.
Manipur’s Moreh and Myanmar’s Tamu are the gateways to the Indo-Myanmar border trade. Traders from both sides cross the border between 7am and 4pm daily for trading activities.
“We have reported the disappearance of the two traders to the district authorities of Tamu and to police, Assam Rifles and government authorities at Moreh. But the authorities have not been able to trace the duo,” Moreh Meitei Council president, M. Thoiba, said.
Community leaders and citizens’ groups were united to mount pressure on authorities of both countries to find the duo, he said. Thoiba said residents had threatened the authorities that border trade would be closed if they failed to find the missing persons.