| Manipur police verify papers of suspected illegal Bangladeshi and Myanmarese migrants settled at Lilong in Manipur’s Thoubal district on Thursday. Picture by UB Photos |
Imphal, Aug. 30: Manipur chief minister Okram Ibobi Singh government today launched a drive to detect foreign nationals, particularly Bangladeshis and Myanmarese, as a precaution to prevent an outbreak of Assam-like violence in the state.
An official source said altogether 19 Myanmarese and 24 Bangladeshis were detected during the verification process and they would be deported to their countries. They had entered Manipur through Assam and Myanmar.
Home minister Gaikhangam said all police stations were alerted and surveillance strengthened at Mao Gate, Jiribam and border township of Moreh which are the main entry points.
Police carried out surprise raids during a statewide bandh today and rounded up hundreds of migrants and non-Manipuris from two Muslim pockets of Lilong in Thoubal district and Hatta in Imphal city. They were brought to the Second Manipur Rifles parade ground in the city where the verification process was held.
Those rounded up include women, children and migrants from Assam, Bengal and Bihar. Barring the Bangladeshis and Myanmarese, others were let off after verification.
“We carried out the verification exercise to detect foreigners following information that a large number of foreign nationals has entered Manipur and staying in Lilong and Hatta areas for the past several months without valid documents,” a senior police officer told this correspondent.
The officer said those who could not produce identity proofs, unable to speak Manipuri and could not say where they were staying at present were rounded up.
“We are taking measures to prevent an Assam-like flare-up in the state. This verification process is part of the exercise. Those detected as foreign nationals will be sent back to their countries,” he said.
Intelligence reports said Bangladeshis and Myanmarese nationals continued to enter Manipur through Ass-am and Myanmar in the past few years. Security agencies are apprehensive that trouble could break out unless influx of foreigners is not checked.
Apprehending trouble, citizens’ forums of Manipur have been demanding introduction of inner line permit in Manipur to regulate influx of migrants and foreigners.
Citizens’ organisations perceive threat to their identity, social, economic and political rights unless illegal influx is checked.
The Manipur Assembly took a resolution earlier this year to urge the Centre to introduce inner-line permit in the state. The Centre, however, has no plans to introduce the system that exists only in Nagaland, Mizoram and Arunachal Pradesh.
Official sources said drives to detect foreigners would continue and those detected would be deported.